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Decline In Covid Cases Is More Of A Pause As UK Variant Begins To Spread

"I don't think anyone expected variants to be this much more transmissible," CNN science correspondent Elizabeth Cohen said.

So now, as a result of Trump's refusal to get an early grip on the virus, it's been around long enough to mutate, and will make it that much harder to get control. CNN reports this morning.

"Health experts fear the recent decline in covid cases could be temporary. Because at least three variants of the virus are now circulating in this country. The strain in the UK is so contagious, experts now think it's going to become the dominant variant here," Poppy Harlow said.

"Is it just more transmissible or also more dangerous?" Jim Sciutto asked CNN science reporter Elizabeth Cohen.

"We don't completely know the answer to that, Jim. We know there are concerns that the UK variant is more dangerous," Cohen said.

"The scientists in the UK have some data, certainly, that point in that direction. What we do know more about is the transmissibility. Let's take a look at that data. we know these variants appear to be 35-to-45% more transmissible than earlier strains. That is not good news, that is considerably more transmissible. That means the number of cases with these variants double every seven to ten days. This is according to new research that has come out recently, just today."

She said we have documented 610 cases of the UK variant here, but there are likely many more than that because we don't monitor for them.

"Now, let's take a look at why these appear to be more transmissible. It appears some preliminary evidence suggests they bind more tightly to our cells and also that they're stickier. There are changes in the spike protein. Those are the little red spikes that come out of the virus whenever you see it in that image. They seem to be stickier and stick to our cells and again, that is not good and you know we are really sort of learning as we go here. I don't think anyone expected variants to be this much more transmissible."

"Before you go, there are the biggest pharmacies in the country, CVS, Walgreens, getting vaccines either today, tomorrow, can you explain how that will change the game for everyone? I assume the same rules apply in terms of age, requirements, et cetera?"

Each state has its own requirements, and each pharmacy will have to follow the rules in that state, Cohen said.

"So Walgreens, CVS and pharmacies have been doing evacuations quite a while now. A federal program will be giving more doses. Let's take a look. There are several programs, it will be 1 million Moderna doses spread around the country to 6,500 pharmacies and CVS plans their vaccinations February 11th and Walgreens February 12th. There are other pharmacies, too, obviously, that have a chunk of the share.

"If you take a look, we have a map that shows where CVS will be having them and Walgreens will be having them. When you heard me say one million, if you thought, wait a minute, you are not the only one. One million is not much. There needs to be much more going out. One million is certainly a start."

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