Cases of the B.1.1.7. coronavirus variant continue to rise in Colorado – but aren’t cause for concern, yet |

Cases of the B.1.1.7. coronavirus variant continue to rise in Colorado – but aren’t cause for concern, yet

The state has not found any cases so far from the South African or Brazilian variants of the virus

John Ingold
The Colorado Sun

The new coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom has firmly taken root in Colorado, with the state reporting 41 cases so far.

But one of Colorado’s top health officials said Wednesday that there is not yet cause for alarm in the spread of the variant, as overall COVID-19 cases in the state continue to decline and cases from the variant make up a small fraction of the total. As long as Coloradans continue to maintain a high degree of mask-wearing and social distancing, mathematical models do not show the variant leading to a dramatic resurgence of cases.

“We actually see very little impact from the variant” if transmission control remains high, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist.

The U.K. variant — known scientifically as the B.1.1.7. variant — has been linked through modeling studies to faster rates of spread and, potentially, higher rates of deaths.

Reports of all new coronavirus cases in Colorado are falling — though Herlihy said the rate of decline has slowed in recent days. The number of patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped to levels not seen since October. The number of deaths has also declined, though around 15 people with COVID-19 are still dying per day.

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