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Healthcare workers collecting samples at a coronavirus testing site in Denver in November. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's health department discovered the new variant of the coronavirus that may be more transmissible, Gov. Jared Polis announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first known U.S. case of the variant, which was initially discovered in the United Kingdom.

  • A non-peer reviewed study by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that the variant is 56% more transmissible than other strains.
  • The British government previously warned that a new variant could be up to 70% more transmissible.

Of note: There is thus far no evidence that the new variant is more deadly — only that it appears more transmissible. There is also no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines will be less effective against the new variant.

What they're saying: "The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely," Polis tweeted Tuesday.

  • According to Polis’ office, the case involves a man in his 20s who has no travel history.
  • The man is currently in isolation, and public health officials are doing a “thorough investigation,” the governor’s office added.

The big picture: Dozens of countries banned travel from the U.K. after it discovered the variant.

  • Japan announced last week that it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country starting on Dec. 28 after it discovered its first case of the new variant.

Go deeper: What you need to know about the coronavirus mutation

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: The end of quarantine — CDC updates guidance on airborne COVID-19.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations.
  5. World: Asia faces massive new COVID surge.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.