New Coronavirus Variant B.1.1.7. Rears its Ugly Head in Michigan
We knew it was only a matter of time before the new, highly contagious form of coronavirus appeared in Michigan, and state health officials say they have officially confirmed the presence of a case in Washtenaw County.
Officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services say an adult female has contracted the variant of coronavirus which is known as B.1.1.7. The woman recently traveled to the United Kingdom where the virus originated.
This particular strain of COVID-19 is no more deadly but is said to be highly contagious, more so than the disease which has claimed approximately 14,000 lives in Michigan.
Those who have been in contact with the woman have been identified and are currently in quarantine. Two new cases of coronavirus have been identified among her contacts, but it is yet to be determined if those infected have contracted the B.1.1.7. variant.
Health officials worry that a higher rate of transmission of the variant could mean a greater demand for hospitalization. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun tells WZZM that the presence of the new strain of the disease in Michigan is no surprise.
“The discovery of this variant in Michigan is concerning, but not unexpected,” Khaldun said. “We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible. We continue to urge Michiganders to follow a research-based approach by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often, and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn.”