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A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Cal Poly on Feb. 5 in Pomona, CA. Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. is doubling in the U.S. nearly every 10 days, according to a new study released on Sunday.

Why it matters: The preprint study from MedRxiv, which has not been peer-reviewed, comes after the CDC and top infectious disease experts have warned that the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant could become the dominant U.S. strain.

Details: The MedRxiv preprint study found that the U.K. variant is 35-46% more transmissible in the U.S., which is in line with other estimates, including a Public Health England study that found B.1.1.7 is 30% to 50% more transmissible than other forms of the virus.

  • The CDC contracted with genomics company Helix in order to complete the preprint study.

What they're saying: “There could indeed be a very serious situation developing in a matter of months or weeks,” Nicholas Davies, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the New York Times. He was not involved in the study.

  • “These may be early signals warranting urgent investigation by public health authorities," he said.
  • Davies "cautioned that U.S. data is patchier than that in Britain and other countries," per the Times. “If these data are representative, there may be limited time to act."

Go deeper

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

AT&T mandates COVID vaccination for most unionized workers

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

AT&T expanded its COVID-19 vaccine mandate Wednesday to employees who are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union.

Why it matters: The communications giant is one of the biggest employers in the U.S. to require frontline workers to be vaccinated against the virus. The union said it represents some 90,000 AT&T workers, per AP.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.