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U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday there are "no indications" that a new strain of COVID-19, said to be identified in England, will slow U.S. vaccination efforts.

Driving the news: Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium have announced plans to restrict travel from the U.K. due to concerns over the new variant, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "may be up to 70% more transmissible" than the original version of the disease.

  • Johnson also said there's "considerable uncertainty" on details of the new strain, which the U.K. and World Health Organization have both said they identified.

The big picture: "Right now, we have no indications that it is going to hurt our ability to continue vaccinating people or that it is any more dangerous or deadly than the strains that are currently out there and that we know about," Adams said

  • Adams added that the same routines that have been shown to prevent the virus from spreading — such as washing hands, keeping household gatherings small, social distancing and wearing a mask — are still the most effective mitigation efforts as Americans wait to get vaccinated, even if this mutation is more contagious.

Of note: Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 task force and his nominee to take on the role again, shared Adam's view on Sunday that the mutation does not yet appear to affect coronavirus vaccinations.

  • “This news from the U.K. is that they have a strain of the virus that according to the U.K. appears to be more transmissible, more contagious than the virus that we’ve seen circulating prior to this,” Murthy told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
  • “While it seems to be more easily transmissible, we do not have evidence yet that this is a more deadly virus to an individual who acquires it.”

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2021 - Health

CDC issues urgent advisory calling on pregnant people to get COVID vaccine

Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The CDC issued "an urgent health advisory" on Wednesday urging people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why it matters: The CDC said it "strongly recommends" vaccination because its benefits for a pregnant person and the fetus outweigh the risks. It added that pregnant people with COVID-19 are at "increased risk" of outcomes such as preterm birth, stillbirth and admission of a newborn into the ICU.

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.

Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial

Sarah Palin. Photo: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, delaying the start of her defamation trial against the New York Times.

Why it matters: The trial will be closely watched, as it's a rare instance of a major media company defending its editorial practices before an American jury.

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