The first reported case of the COVID-19 variant has been reported in the United States. A Colorado man in his 20s with no travel history was diagnosed and is now in isolation in rural Elbert County outside Denver. The variant was confirmed by the Colorado State Laboratory.
Colorado public health officials are investigating other potential cases and performing contact tracing to determine if the variant may have spread throughout the state. Officials said it is believed the vaccines being administered now are also effective against the variant.
The variant strain first emerged in the UK and is believed to be more contagious than previously-identified strains. The UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, has also been found in Canada, India, Italy, and the UAE.
A second COVID-19 variant, known as 501.V2, has been found in South Africa. This variant is also highly contagious.
Since the virus was first detected in China nearly a year ago, new coronavirus variants have emerged, and it is common for viruses to undergo minor changes as they reproduce and move through a population. Scientists actually track the virus spread from these virus variations. The concern is if the variants are significant, the current vaccines may not offer protection of the new strains.
Colorado health officials are expected to hold a news conference tomorrow, Wednesday, December 30, 2020.