UK COVID strain in Colorado

By Storm Gifford
New York Daily News/TNS

The potentially more dangerous COVID-19 mutant strain that has set off alarms in Europe has been identified in the U.S.

On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced that the first case of the B.1.1.7. variant had been discovered in his state.

It is believed to be the first confirmed mutant coronavirus report in the U.S.

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious," stated Polis on Twitter. “The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely."

A Colorado state laboratory identified the variant through diligent sample analysis.

In late November, Polis disclosed that he and his partner, Marlon Reis, had tested positive for coronavirus and were self-isolating.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the renowned immunologist leading the White House Coronavirus Task Force, isn’t so sure the European strain is any more dangerous than the current virus.

“Does it make someone more ill? Is it more serious virus in the sense of virulence? And the answer is, it doesn’t appear to be that way,” said Fauci.

Although U.K. officials claim that the vaccines being rolled out will be strong enough to deal with the new variant, Fauci said U.S. scientists would be carrying out their own studies.

Colorado, which has recorded 326,000 coronavirus cases statewide, has reported 4,631 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Health & Environment website.

Nationally, 337,000 Americans have lost their lives to the disease, according to health tracker Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, the COVID-19 death toll has exceeded 1.78 million. Nearly 1in every 5 people on Earth who has succumbed to the disease has been an American.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks to the media on May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo.