WASHINGTON — A variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain is now the most common strain of coronavirus circulating in the United States.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says the strain, formally known as B.1.1.7, is “now the most common lineage circulating in United States.”
The strain has been shown to be more transmissible and infectious among younger Americans, which Walensky says contributed to rising case counts in recent weeks.
Walensky says 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.
"I encourage communities to consider adjustments to meet their unique needs and circumstances. For example, in areas of substantial or high community transmission, CDC guidance specifically suggests refraining from youth sports that are not outside and cannot be conducted at least 6 feet apart," Walensky was quoted as saying during a White House COVID-19 Response Team news briefing.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The United States has more than 30 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. had more than 556,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 132 million confirmed cases with more than 2.8 million deaths.
See a replay of the briefing here: