British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday plunged the UK into a new national lockdown until at least mid-February to combat the super-infectious mutant coronavirus that is already spreading across the United States
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has plunged England into a new national lockdown until at least mid-February to combat the super-infectious mutant coronavirus that is already spreading across the United States.
Johnson on Monday ordered people to stay at home again, as they were ordered to do so in the first wave of the pandemic in March, because the new virus variant was spreading in a ‘frustrating and alarming’ way.
The UK has seen an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, which officials have blamed on the mutation that is more contagious than existing variants.
Authorities have recorded more than 50,000 new infections daily since passing that milestone for the first time on December 29. On Monday, the UK reported 407 virus-related deaths to push the confirmed death toll total to 75,431 – one of the worst in Europe.
The US on Monday recorded 210,479 new cases and 1,394 additional fatalities as a result of COVID-19.
The UK currently has more cases and deaths per million people than the US.
The mutant strain currently plaguing the UK has already been detected in New York, California, Colorado and Florida.
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that his state had found its first case of the more contagious UK strain, raising concerns about threats to hospital capacity should it spread rapidly in the former epicenter state.
The mutant strain currently plaguing the UK has already been detected in New York, California, Colorado and Florida. New York Gov Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that his state had found its first case of the more contagious UK strain
He said a man in his 60s, who lives in a town north of Albany, was recovering from the new strain. The man had not traveled recently, which suggests community spread is taking place.
New York has carried out 5,000 tests for the new strain – and so far has only found the one case. Cuomo said it could be a ‘game changer’ if the new strain increases hospitalizations and forces regions to close down.
The first case of the UK strain was detected last week in a nursing home in a remote Colorado town where a National Guard member in his 20s, who had been assigned to help at the facility, tested positive.
The strain was then found in California and Florida before being detected in New York on Monday.
The discovery of the new variant led the CDC to issue new rules on Christmas Day for travelers arriving to the US from the UK, requiring they show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Health experts have warned that the new strain could have started spreading in the US as early as October.
Dr Anthony Fauci has said it was ‘inevitable’ that the UK strain would spread to the US.
‘Obviously, we don’t want to see a virus that has a greater capability of spreading,’ he told NBC’s Today.
‘The good news is that it does not appear to be… making people more sick and leading to more death. The other thing that is important and a favorable thing, it does not seem to evade the protection that’s afforded by vaccines that are currently being used.’
The United States on Monday recorded 210,479 new COVID-19 cases
UK health authorities have recorded more than 50,000 new infections daily since passing that milestone for the first time on December 29
The UK currently has more infections and deaths per million people that the US
Fear has been growing about the variant since the weekend before Christmas when British officials first revealed the strain was spreading rapidly through the UK.
South Africa has also discovered a highly contagious COVID-19 variant, which was also detected in the UK prior to Christmas.
Under the UK’s strict new lockdown rules, which took immediate effect, elementary and secondary schools and colleges will be closed for face to face learning except for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.
University students will not be returning until at least mid-February.
All nonessential shops, personal care services like hairdressers and gyms will also be closed. Restaurants can only operate takeout services.
News of the new strict lockdown in the UK came on the day British health authorities began putting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine into arms around the country, fueling hopes that life may begin returning to normal by the spring.