New Strain of Coronavirus makes its Way to the US


Amy Doran, Contributor

As the country was starting to vaccinate healthcare workers and the high-risk for Covid-19, there was a new strain of the coronavirus reported. Starting in the United Kingdom, this new strain quickly made its way to London and Southeast England. As of January 13, 2021, there have been seventy-six total cases of the new strain reported in the United States.

This new strain is more rapidly transmissible than the strain the world has been fighting for over a year now. The CDC recently published an article addressing the severity of this new strain: “At this time, there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness of increased risk of death.” According to the CDC, it is not uncommon for a new strain of a virus to emerge. New strains of viruses will either emerge and disappear, or emerge and persist. There is not yet any evidence of whether or not this variant will disappear or persist at this time.

Here is what the CDC knows: 

  • New variants are expected to emerge
  • “Multiple variants of the virus that causes Covid-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic”
  • Covid-19 comes from Coronavirus (a family of viruses that have crown-like spikes on their surfaces). Studies that are done examining the spikes on the virus are what help scientists determine the characteristics of the virus. They can find out how changes in the virus affect how the virus will spread, and how it will affect people who are infected.

What the CDC does not know:

  • How widely these variants have spread
  • How diseases from these variants differ from diseases caused by other variants


From the December 31st issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, Ralph S. Baric addressed the effectiveness of the vaccine on this new strain: “…serum samples from D614-virus-infected hamsters can efficiently neutralize the G614 virus from infecting cells…which suggests that SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, all of which are based on the D614 variant of the spike protein, will protect against G614 variants of the virus.” To break that down, D614 is the variant we have been dealing with for a year, and the variant the vaccine was made for. The G614 variant is the new variant that has shown to be fought off effectively by the D614 vaccine. The vaccine that has been worked on for the past few months will, in fact, be successful in fighting off the new strain of the virus.


President-elect Joe Biden released his ambitious 100 day plan as the 46th president of the United States. His plan is to release all available vaccines as soon as he is inaugurated. He says that in his first 100 days in office, he plans to have 100 million Americans vaccinated with the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Biden plans to hold vaccination sites in high school gyms and sports stadiums in order to reach the higher risk communities. According to The New York Times, “Some public health experts fear that second doses would be delayed by the decision.” There is a debate between health experts whether or not this is the most efficient and effective way to roll out vaccines considering a booster shot is required soon after the first dose. Although this is a concern, The New York Times also stated the biggest problem the country has run into so far is the distribution to the population, rather than the lack of doses.