As cases in the United States continue to climb, a top U.S. health official said on Wednesday that the highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom has become the most common strain of the virus in the U.S.
The strain known as B.1.1.7 was identified in Britain last fall and has since been detected in 52 jurisdictions in the United States. Public health officials have urged Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible in part to prevent new variants of the novel coronavirus from spreading. The United States has also detected cases of a variant first discovered in South Africa that is thought to be resistant to some COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. That strain has been found in 36 U.S. jurisdictions.
The United States is administering about 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per day on average over the past week. Vaccine supply has increased significantly in recent weeks as Johnson & Johnson has begun making millions of doses of its recently authorized shots. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have also recently boosted their vaccine production capacity. However, daily U.S. cases of novel coronavirus are averaging 63,000 over the past seven days, up 2.3% from the previous seven-day average.