Boone County records first known U.K. variant COVID-19 case
(COLUMBIA, MO) - Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) is reporting the first known positive case of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant in Boone County. The variant was first detected in the United Kingdom in December 2020. According to the CDC, the B.1.1.7 variant has become the most common strain of the COVID-19 virus in the United States.
PHHS has completed case investigation and contact tracing for the patient. In order to protect the patient’s privacy, no other information will be shared at this time.
In February 2021, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced the first confirmed case of the U.K. variant in Missouri. Additionally, DHSS announced the first confirmed case of the B.1.351 variant, which originated in South Africa, on April 6 in Jackson County.
According to the CDC, viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. They can sometimes emerge and then disappear, but other times they can persist for long periods of time. There have been multiple variants recorded in the U.S. and globally.
Scientists and medical experts continue to study these variants to better understand their effect. At this time, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination of the currently available vaccines are effective against these variants but more studies are ongoing.
Evidence from the U.K. indicates that this variant spreads much more quickly through the population and, given that fact, may rapidly increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths. More studies are needed to confirm this finding. For this reason, it is essential to continue with COVID-19 mitigation protocols including getting the COVID-19 vaccine, social distancing from others, wearing a mask, staying home when sick and washing hands regularly, to protect public health.