CDC: More infectious coronavirus variant may become dominant in U.S.

People wait in line for Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines at the opening of a new vaccination site at Corsi Houses in Harlem. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a new report from the CDC, the highly contagious UK variant of the coronavirus will become the dominant strain found in the United States in roughly two months and will cause daily case totals to spike again in the spring.

Researchers say that the variant strain, known as B.1.1.7, has been detected in 10 states in the U.S. and over 30 countries nationwide, and, at its current trajectory, will grow rapidly and become the dominant strain found by March if extra measures to stop its spread are not taken.

"Currently, there is no known difference in clinical outcomes associated with the described SARS-CoV-2 variants; however, a higher rate of transmission will lead to more cases, increasing the number of persons overall who need clinical care, exacerbating the burden on an already strained health care system, and resulting in more deaths," the report said.

According to its models, the CDC is projecting that between 440,000 to 477,000 Americans could die from the virus by Feb. 6.

The report advised Americans to continue mask-wearing, social distancing and hand washing and other prevention strategies to prevent the virus' spread.

If the U.S. can begin vaccinating 1 million Americans a day, the CDC says new infections will decline despite the new variant's emergence.

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However, the report comes as state health officials are calling for answers from the federal government over claims that the federal reserve of COVID vaccine doses does not exist, leaving states quickly running short on doses of the vaccine.

Scientists say they believe the cOVID-19 vaccines will remain effective against the coronavirus.

The UK variant is not the only mutation of the coronavirus being studied, at least two other variants, identified in South Africa and Brazil are currently under scrutiny.

More than 390,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S., data compiled Jan. 15 by Johns Hopkins University shows. Globally, there have been over 2 million COVID-19 deaths since the virus was first detected just over a year ago in the Chinese city of Wuhan.