Fauci: We have to assume now that British virus strain can cause more damage | TheHill – The Hill

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciAstraZeneca vaccine distribution begins in Brazil Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said recent data reported by the British government suggest a new, more virulent strain of the coronavirus is also more deadly, but said U.S. officials needed to examine the numbers themselves.

Asked by CBS’s Margaret Brennan about his earlier claims that the strain, while more infectious, was apparently no deadlier, Fauci said: “The data that came out was after they had been saying all along that it did not appear to be more deadly. So that’s where we got that information.”

“When the British investigators looked more closely at the death rate of a certain age group, and they found that it was one per thousand… and then it went up to 1.3 per thousand in a certain group,” Fauci added. “That’s a significant increase. So the most recent data is in accord with what the Brits are saying. We want to look at the data ourselves, but we have every reason to believe them. They’re a very competent group.”

Fauci went on to say Americans “need to assume now that what has been circulating dominantly in the U.K. does have a certain increase in what we call virulence, namely the power of the virus to cause more damage, including death.”

Fauci separately addressed another strain believed to have originated in South Africa, saying “in some cases [the strain] diminishes the efficacy of the vaccine” but the vaccine was still generally effective.

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