More transmissible United Kingdom COVID-19 variant found in Tarrant County

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Dallas and Tarrant counties have reported additional COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

Health officials have recently identified a more contagious United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus in Tarrant County.

Brian Murnahan, public information officer for the Tarrant County Public Health Department, said the UK variant was reported last week from a Tarrant County testing clinic.

The UK variant is more transmissible than the currently dominant strain of COVID-19.

Murnahan recommends people continue to wear masks, social distance, wash their hands and avoid group environments.

As of March 9, there have been 3,701 reported cases of the U.K. variant in the U.S., with the strain being publicly reported in Texas on Jan. 7 and in Dallas County on Jan. 16.

The variant has the potential to become the predominant variant in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The variant is associated with a 64% higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than earlier strains, according to a study by the British Medical Journal.

The report of the strain came within the week Governor Greg Abbott announced the executive order to lift the statewide mask mandate and capacity restrictions. The executive order went into effect Wednesday.

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