On Sunday, the country’s top infectious-disease expert warned that the new strain of COVID-19 is more virulent, and authorities should assume the worst.
“We need to assume now that what has been circulating dominantly in the U.K. does have a certain degree of increase in what we call virulence, namely the power of the virus to cause more damage, including death,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci discussed the new, more potent, B111 strain of the novel coronavirus first detected in the United Kingdom. The mutated virus comes with a higher degree of mortality in people age 60 and older. The U.K. strain is believed to be 30% more deadly in the elderly than the original strain.
“That’s a significant increase,” Fauci stated.
“We want to look at the data ourselves, but we have every reason to believe them,” he continued. “They’re a very competent group.”
As far as a different mutated strain originating in South Africa, Fauci said vaccines appear to be less effective against it “in some cases.” He said they are continuing to follow the virus’ behavior because “things do evolve.”