By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Earlier this week, Vermont health officials have confirmed detection of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 – the viral mutation first detected in the U.K. in the fall of 2020. This is the first lab-confirmed evidence of the variant in the state.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The variant was detected in a specimen taken from a resident of Chittenden County.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said confirmation of the variant in Vermont is a concern, but not a surprise. “This and other variants have been circulating throughout the U.S. for some time, so we expected to find evidence of it here. In fact, we are the last New England state where it has been detected.”

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Dr. Levine said what is notable about the B.1.1.7 variant is that it can spread even faster than the virus that has been in the state. “The good news is that medical studies indicate the current vaccines are effective against this strain, and Vermonters should have confidence in the vaccines available,” said Dr. Levine. “We are moving to vaccinate people as quickly as possible, and I ask everyone who is eligible for each phase to get vaccinated. But now that we know the variant is here, it is ever more important that everyone follow our guidance to prevent transmission – wear your mask, keep a distance of 6 feet from each other, and absolutely avoid crowded places. These steps continue to be effective against variants.”