US taking hard look at variant of coronavirus, Fauci says

US taking hard look at variant of coronavirus, Fauci says
Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: The US health officials believe the Covid variant that set off alarms in parts of the UK is no more apt to cause serious illness or be resistant to Covid-19 vaccines than the strain afflicting people in the US but it still must be taken “very seriously,” the government’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

Dr. Fauci endorsed the decision of US officials to require negative Covid-19 tests before letting people from the UK enter the country. The expert declined to weigh in on whether that step should have been taken sooner.

Mr Fauci said the new variant strain is something “to follow very carefully” and “we’re looking at it very intensively now.”

“Does it make someone more ill? Is it more serious virus in the sense of virulence? And the answer is, it doesn’t appear to be that way,” Dr Fauci said.

British officials are telling their US counterparts it appears that the coronavirus vaccines being rolled out will be strong enough to deal with the new variant but, Fauci said, “we’re going to be doing the studies ourselves.”

Fauci said the United States is at a critical phase of the current pandemic, with the worst probably still ahead. He predicted the general population would be getting vaccines widely by late March or early April — beyond the front-line workers, older people and certain other segments of the public given priority for the vaccines.

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