Colorado man first identified with mutant COVID-19 pressure in US, UK officers warned; second case suspected | Colorado Springs Information
A Colorado man is the first in the United States to be diagnosed with a new COVID-19 mutation, which British officials recently warned was significantly more contagious, according to state officials.
The man, who lives in Elbert County, is in his twenties, with no travel history and no close contacts, state officials said in a press release Tuesday, adding that a press conference on Wednesday morning would provide more details. The man remains isolated and the contact tracing continues.
A second case is suspected in the county, and both people worked in Simla, about an hour northeast of Colorado Springs. Dwayne Smith, director of public health in Elbert County, told the Gazette’s sister publication Colorado Politics on Tuesday.
“I’m not surprised,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post on Tuesday in response to the virus’ arrival in the US. “I think we need to keep an eye on it.” and we have to take it seriously. We obviously take seriously any type of mutation that could have a functional meaning. But I think we don’t know enough about it to be definitive except to follow it carefully and study it carefully. “
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The El Paso County Health Department did not immediately respond on Tuesday to the question of whether the county had seen suspected cases.
The fact that the man had no known travel history or close contacts, according to the state, “suggests that there is more than one case in Colorado,” said Dr. Elizabeth Carlton, assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and a member of the state COVID-19 modeling team, said Tuesday.
This variant known as B.1.1.7 is the same that was discovered in Europe this month. It raised the alarm when announced by the UK Prime Minister and prompted dozen of countries to ban flights from the UK as well as strict lockdown measures in southern England. A similar variant arose in South Africa and possibly in Nigeria. It appears to be 70% more communicable than the dominant strain of COVID-19, Colorado officials said last week.
The World Health Organization has said that while the variant is easier to spread from person to person, it is not necessarily more dangerous or deadly. In a recent briefing from the UK Ministry of Health about the mutation, neither a statistically significant difference in hospital or death rates nor in the likelihood of re-infection was found.
Looking at mutation data from the UK, “it’s noteworthy how quickly this new variant has taken over the region of eastern England,” from the periphery to the dominance of COVID diagnoses within a month, Carlton said.
The COVID-19 virus is likely to have significant mutations once or twice a month, said Dr. Sam Dominguez, an infectious disease specialist at Colorado Children’s Hospital, told The Gazette last week. Coronaviruses are prone to mutations, he said, adding that introducing a vaccine could cause the virus to mutate.
In general, Colorado COVID-19 news:
– New infections reported to the state generally continue to decline, with 1,158 new cases announced on Tuesday – the lowest number since October 21 – and a decrease from 6,618 cases announced on November 12.
– On Tuesday, the number of deaths directly caused by COVID was 3,803, while the number of deaths in patients who had COVID at the time of death, including those who died from other causes, was 4,687.
– The percentage of people tested for COVID-19 whose results were positive was just over 6% on Monday, half of the value in November and early December. The World Health Organization recommended a rate of no more than 5% among communities looking to reopen this spring.
– Almost three-quarters of government acute and intensive care beds were in operation as of Tuesday, numbers that have remained relatively stable after a slight decrease recently, according to data. Almost 40% of adult ventilators were in use on Tuesday.
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