Actions

Concerns grow as coronavirus variant found in U.S.

Virus might be more transmissible
Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 19:19:15-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As reports about the new U.K. variant emerged earlier this month, the CDC said just 51,000 of the 17 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. had been sequenced.

The new variant has U.S leaders growing frustrated over the pace of the vaccine rollout.

President-Elect Joe Biden blames the Trump administration for the slow rate of vaccinatinating Americans. So far, just over 2 million doses have been administered as opposed to the 20 million estimated by the Trump administration.

"There is concern that this virus actually may be more transmissible than some of the other strains of the virus," said Nebraska Medicine doctor, James Lawler.

He said it's not uncommon for a virus to mutate.

Lawler said the new strain is a red flag, adding if the virus spreads faster – it could further strain Nebraska's health system.

"Here in the Midwest, I would be concerned that the progress that we've made in reducing case numbers….well that is certainly fragile. It may be that the holiday gatherings and travel along with schools going back into session in early January and then again if you threw in a more transmissible virus it could cause another epidemic wave," Lawler said.

The new variant has other U.S. leaders growing frustrated over the pace of the vaccine rollout.

President-elect Joe Biden blames the white house – adding that so far, just over 2 million doses have been administered – far less than the 20 million forecast by the Trump administration.

"If it continues to move as it is now – it's going to take years, not months to vaccinate the American people."

Dr. Lawler says these hiccups are no surprise, adding the United States does not have a system set up to vaccinate millions of Americans effectively.

"All of this depends on people wanting to get the vaccine, and stepping forward. That public confidence has been shaken for a variety of reasons and still pretty tenuous," said Lawler.