The Goal Now: Banish B.1.1.7

In countries where the B.1.1.7 variant is dominating, the picture is getting much worse, CNN reports.

  • French ICUs are packed with 5,000+ COVID-19 patients for the first time since April 2020.

  • Turkey has reached record daily case numbers.

  • Canada reports rising case numbers and hospitalizations tied to the variant. 

Meanwhile in the US: With just 16.1% of the population fully vaccinated against the virus, the US is the only country that is easing restrictions amid the spread of B.1.1.7, said epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.
 
“In a sense, we're creating the perfect storm," Osterholm said—and one has already taken hold in Brazil.

And Brazil: Experts worry that Brazil’s out-of-control outbreak could seed more dangerous variants, given “the virus’s track record of acquiring mutations in areas where it abounds,” Scientific American reports.
 
The P.1 variant first discovered in Manaus has since reached 34 other countries—and has been shown to be “more pernicious than its predecessors.”

Some Good News: The T cell response—a crucial element of the immune system—induced by infection with the original coronavirus was shown to be protective against the top 3 virus variants, those first discovered in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil, new research has found, Reuters reports.

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