COVID-19 response team pushes to increase tracking of variants in US, discusses vaccinating seniors

More contagious UK variant could become dominant strain in US by end of March

On Monday, the White House COVID-19 Response Team urged Americans not to let their guard down and to continue following recommendations to slow the spread of the virus.

DETROIT – On Monday, the White House COVID-19 Response Team urged Americans not to let their guard down and continue following recommendations to slow the spread of the virus. Those concerns were heightened by worries about the new variants.

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There is a pretty clear tug of war going on with more states moving to loosen restrictions and the federal government struggling to maintain improvements in case counts and get more people vaccinated.

Even with ongoing efforts to increase vaccine production the demand far outweighs the supply.

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White House Advisor Andy Slavitt says of the over 40 million doses administered so far, more than 17 million have been to people 65 or older.

He applauded Americans patiently waiting their turn.

“Our ability to vaccinate millions of the elderly, seniors, and health care workers is a testament to a society that has put our parents and grandparents, those who have served us, and those who continue to sacrifice for us on the frontlines of the health care system first,” said Slavitt.

Scientific models predict the more contagious United Kingdom variant will become the dominant virus in the United States by the end of March.

The encouraging news is that the vaccines currently being distributed right now are quite effective against that particular variant, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

The US is behind on tracking variants. There is a new push to change that.

“We anticipate that we are probably going to be sequencing up to three to four more than we are already sequencing. I think once we have more sequencing that is happening, we’ll have a better idea as to how many variants there are and what proportions are out there,” said CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.