The COVID-19 variant that originated in the UK and is now spreading in the US may be up to 70 percent deadlier than previous versions of the bug, according to a British study.A group that includes experts from universities and public agencies in the UK found that the variant — known as B.1.1.7 — is likely about 30 percent to 70 percent deadlier than the original strain, according to Fox News. Scientists had already determined that the so-called Kent variant — named after the county where it was first detected — was probably that much more transmissible. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted last month that it “may also be associated with a higher degree of mortality.” The new follow-up study, which examined a larger sample size of patients, appeared to confirm those conclusions. The findings from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group were published Friday on the government’s website.
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Click To Start Selling Now“There is evidence from analysis of multiple different datasets that infection with VOC B1.1.7 is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization [sic] and death compared to infection with” other forms of the virus, the authors wrote. The highly transmissible variant has spread to more than 80 countries, including the US, where more than 1,000 cases have been reported in 40 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the US, where the mutation was first identified in Colorado, it has since also been deetected in New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Utah, among others. “These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19,” according to the CDC. “An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.”