As I predicted in last night’s blog, tonight there was the report of an individual in Colorado who is infected with the London variant of the coronavirus.
The Colorado case involves a man in his 20s in Elbert County, about 50 miles southeast of Denver. Importantly, this gentleman has no travel history, according to a tweet from the office of Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
“The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to identify other potential cases and contacts through contact tracing and interviews,” indicated a statement from the governor’s office.
This individual’s lack of known travel shows this is not likely an isolated case of a virus that recently arrived here from the U.K. This variant will be detected elsewhere, potentially at various sites across the country. As I suggested last night, we had not detected the London variant of the virus in the U.S. because we do not identify gene sequences on US viral isolates as they do in the U.K. It has likely been here quite awhile if it made it to rural Colorado.
What is the significance of this finding? The good news is that we should continue our current approach to containing the pandemic. We must aggressively immunize everyone since the vaccine does appear effective in preventing infection with this variant according to the U.K. health minister.
The supposed increased ability of this variant to infect people likely has little to do with the current surges of infection we’ve seen in several parts of the United States. COVID-19 has become endemic in the United States, and therefore the main reason we’re seeing so many infections is because there are so many infected people spreading the virus.
In conclusion, it is not surprising that the London variant of COVID-19 is already present in the United States. The good news is that to control it, we should just continue what we’re already doing to fight the pandemic.