WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — A more-transmissible variant of the novel coronavirus first identified in Britain is now the most common strain circulating in the United States, health officials said Wednesday.
During a regular COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rachelle Walensky said the strain, formally known as B.1.1.7, is “now the most common lineage circulating in United States.”
In the U.S., the UK variant has been shown to be especially transmissible and infectious among younger Americans, which Walensky said contributed to rising case counts in recent weeks.
“These trends are pointing towards two clear truths: one, the virus still has hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm’s way, and we need to remain vigilant, and two, we need to accelerate our vaccine efforts and take the personal responsibility to get vaccinated when we can,” she said.
Walensky said new outbreaks have been tied to youth sports and daycare centers. She particularly encouraged states with rising caseloads to curtail or suspend youth sports activities to slow the spread of the virus.
The U.S. leads the world with 30.8 million confirmed cases and more than 556,000 confirmed deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.