Health Officials: New COVID-19 Variant Reported In US, Could Be In Oklahoma

Wednesday, December 30th 2020, 4:47 pm

Health officials have now confirmed two cases of a new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

The strain was first found in the United Kingdom.

OU's Chief COVID Officer says he thinks that strain may already be in Oklahoma.

Those new cases were first reported in two National Guard members in eastern Colorado.

And because that is close to Oklahoma, Dr. Dale Bratzler says that strain may already be here.

The new strain has about 20 different mutations, and some of which allow the spike proteins of COVID-19 to attach to human receptors easier.

In other words, Dr. Bratzler says this strain appears to be more contagious.

He says the strain has been circulating in the United Kingdom since September, but just this week was confirmed in the United States in Colorado.

Bratzler says Oklahoma does not test for genetic typing to confirm different strains, so it's hard to know for sure, but he believes its been circulating in the US for awhile - which means it's likely in Oklahoma.

The new strain is not more deadly, but since Dr. Bratzler says it is more contagious, he thinks we could potentially see an increase in cases before more people are vaccinated.

"I think it was inevitable that we would see the new strain in the United States, and I think the thing that's really important is because it's more transmittable, we may see more cases," said Bratzler.

Bratzler says so far it appears the vaccines work against this new strain as well.