US confirms Covid variant infections in 4 states as vaccine rollout lags

Topics Coronavirus | US | UK

A Covid-19 patient

The US has confirmed infections of the Covid-19 variant in four states, as the vaccine rollout nationwide lags behind schedule.

New York State reported on Monday its first case of the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus that was initially discovered in the UK, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The case was identified in a 60-year-old man from Saratoga County who had no travel history, according to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York is the fourth state in the country that has confirmed infection of the new strain, which has also been found in California, Florida and Colorado.

The variant is thought to be more transmissible but does not appear to make people more ill or increase the risk of death from Covid-19, experts have said.

While the variant does not appear to cause more severe disease in people who are infected and current vaccines should still work against it, it could lead to more hospitalisations as a result of an increase in cases, said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.

California has confirmed six cases of the variant, all in the southern part of the state. One person in San Diego County has been hospitalised, said Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday.

He said state health officials are carrying out contact tracing efforts.

The CDC implemented a new order in late December which requires air passengers arriving in the United States from the United Kingdom to test negative, no more than 72 hours before departure.

More new strains of the coronavirus are likely to make their way to the US, said Michael Osterholm, member of US President-elect Joe Biden's Covid-19 advisory board, on Tuesday.

"And it's the first of what will likely be a number of these strains that are emerging as we're at this point in the pandemic," he added.

In the meantime, health experts and officials have blamed states for slow vaccine rollout. The country planned to inject 20 million Americans by the end of 2020. However, only about 4.56 million had received shots as of January 4, according to the CDC.

Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, said that one way to speed up immunisations against Covid-19 was to give two half-volume doses of the Moderna vaccine to some individuals.

However, the US Food and Drug Administration warned on Monday that people need both doses of vaccine and changes in vaccine administration would "run a significant risk of placing public health at risk."

The US has recorded over 20.9 million cases with over 3,55,300 related deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel