By Rebecca Spalding and Carl O’Donnell (Reuters) – The best defense against emerging variants of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, America’s leading infectious disease physician said Monday. , Anthony Fauci. Nearly 700 cases associated with variants of the coronavirus have been identified in the United States, US officials said in a press call. Of those, 690 cases are of a more transmissible variant first discovered in the United Kingdom called B.1.1.7, which could become the dominant variant in the United States in March, officials said. The United States hasn’t been extensively testing the variants, so the actual number is likely higher than the official numbers. All viruses mutate, but scientists are concerned about changes in the virus that make it more transmissible or more deadly. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that while it is reasonable to study the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for a single dose regimen, given supply limitations, such a study would take months to complete and therefore I would probably draw conclusions. debatable. Fauci continued to encourage people to get two doses of the vaccines. The “optimal approach would be to continue to get as many people as possible to get their first dose, but also make sure people get their second dose on time,” Fauci said. So far, more than 17 million doses of vaccines have been given to people 65 and older, Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team, said on the call. More than 41 million doses of vaccines have been administered to more than 31 million Americans, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Sunday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advised people to continue wearing masks and that states do not relax the rules for wearing masks. The Biden Administration has asked Americans to wear masks for their first 100 days.
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