Britain reported that the new COVID-19 variant found in the U.K. last month could be 30-40% more deadly than previous variants. The variant also spreads 30-70% faster than previous variants, but vaccines appear to be able to neutralize it.
- The U.K.’s current population is about 67 million, and around 5.4 million people have been given the first dose of a vaccine. With the new variant appearing more deadly, the government is planning to prioritize administering the first dose to more people rather than the second dose for eligible people.
- Another variant that started to spread from South Africa has been found to be 50% more contagious, and vaccines could be less effective against this new strain.
In other news:
The New York Times reported that many hospitals in the U.S. are running out of vaccines, and thousands of vaccine appointments have been canceled as a result. At the same time, only 19 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been administered so far, while about 40 million doses have been distributed. Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said that the lack of coordinated federal response has led to a distribution problem.