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A worker at a coronavirus testing site in London on Feb. 10, 2021. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Studies show the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom is "likely" more lethal than the original strain, scientists with the British government said in an assessment released Friday.

Why it matters: The more contagious B.1.1.7 variant has been discovered in 82 countries, including the United States, according to the New York Times.

  • Cases of the new variant may be doubling in the U.S. nearly every 10 days and could the dominant version of the virus in the country by March, according to a study published by MedRxiv this week.

Details: In the new assessment, the British scientists estimate that the variant could be 30% to 70% deadlier than the original strain.

  • But they added that they would need more data on deaths in more extensive studies before they could definitively conclude that the variant is deadlier.
  • The new development comes roughly two months after British government warned that the B.1.1.7 variant is more more transmissible than other forms of the virus.

The big picture: Moderna and Pfizer have both found that their vaccines are effective against the U.K. variant and another variant first discovered in South Africa.

Go deeper: New coronavirus variants may lead to a longer, deadlier pandemic

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

CDC: Moderna vaccine most effective against hospitalization in U.S.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Overall healthy adults with the Moderna COVID vaccine had 93% vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization over five months compared to those with 88% protection with Pfizer and 71% from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new report out Friday from the CDC shows.

Why it matters: The report comes as the Food and Drug Administrations meets Friday to consider whether to endorse a contentious plan for booster shots among the fully vaccinated.

Sep 18, 2021 - Health

Mississippi reports rise in COVID-19 deaths among pregnant women

Dr. Thomas Dobbs speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2020. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At least eight pregnant women in Mississippi, who weren't fully vaccinated, have died of COVID-19 since late July, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The eight pregnant women who have died from the virus more than doubles the state's pandemic total in just two months.

Sep 18, 2021 - Health

Most Kentucky school boards vote in favor of mask mandates

Photo: Paul Bersebach, MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A majority of school boards in Kentucky voted in favor of mask mandates, according to the Kentucky School Board Association.

Why it matters: A week ago, Kentucky's Republican-dominated legislature voted to revoke a statewide mask mandate in public schools that was meant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision on masks would instead be left up to individual districts.