Studies show the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom is "likely" more lethal than the original strain, scientists with the British government said in an assessment released Friday.
Why it matters: The more contagious B.1.1.7 variant has been discovered in 82 countries, including the United States, according to the New York Times.
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Cases of the new variant may be doubling in the U.S. nearly every 10 days and could the dominant version of the virus in the country by March, according to a study published by MedRxiv this week.
Details: In the new assessment, the British scientists estimate that the variant could be 30% to 70% deadlier than the original strain.
But they added that they would need more data on deaths in more extensive studies before they could definitively conclude that the variant is deadlier.
The new development comes roughly two months after British government warned that the B.1.1.7 variant is more more transmissible than other forms of the virus.
The big picture: Moderna and Pfizer have both found that their vaccines are effective against the U.K. variant and another variant first discovered in South Africa.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that wearing two face masks or adjusting a mask to fit more snuggly can better help protect against the new variant.
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