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Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool via Getty Images

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant that originated in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday at a White House briefing.

Why it matters: Studies have shown the B.1.1.7 variant is more contagious than the original strain and is associated with a higher risk of death.

  • The U.S. currently has 16,275 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, per CDC data.

The big picture: Health officials have warned people to remain vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Walensky said variants like B.1.1.7 are contributing to an increase in the U.S.' daily rate of new cases over the last few weeks.

What to watch: Axios' Coronavirus Variant Tracker

Go deeper: The race between COVID vaccines and emerging variants

Go deeper

Apr 7, 2021 - Health

CDC: 80% of teachers, school staff received at least one shot by end of March

A teacher helps a student at Gartfield Elementary School in Oakland, California. Photo: Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronical via Getty Images

Nearly 80% of teachers, school staff and childcare workers had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

What they're saying: “Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and childcare workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

Updated Apr 7, 2021 - World

Brazil's daily COVID death toll tops 4,000 for first time

Cemetery workers carry a coffin during the burial of a COVID-19 victim at the Sao Joao municipal cemetery in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 26. Photo: Silvio Avila/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil confirmed more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time on Tuesday, the health ministry announced.

Why it matters: A surge in cases and deaths, driven in part by relaxed mitigation measures and a more contagious local variant, has overwhelmed the country's health system.