|Manu||Date: Sunday, 20-December-2020, 10:31 AM | Message # 1|
|COVID-19: Is the new coronavirus mutation worse than first thought?|
By Emily Mee, news reporter
A new variant of COVID-19 in the UK that is believed to be behind the faster spread of infections in southeast England has been described as "a real cause for concern".
But it is not the first time the virus had mutated since the start of the pandemic and it may not even be the first time a mutation - or a change in the virus' genetic material - has altered how infectious it is.
Is it more transmissible?
Yes. It seems so. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new variant strain, VUI-202012/01, may be up to 70% more transmissible and could increase the R number by 0.4.
The latest figures suggest that this strain is responsible for 43% of new infections in the South East - rising to 59% of new cases in the East of England and 62% in London.
Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, said: "Those have gone up very, very fast over the last few weeks."
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