COVID-19 UK Variant Identified in Texas
By David Doolittle

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A Harris County resident was diagnosed with Texas’ first case of a COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom during the fall, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced today.

The adult male had no history of travel, suggesting the variant already is circulating in the state, DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, reported in a statement.

“Genetic variations are the norm among viruses, and it’s not surprising that it arrived here given how rapidly it spreads,” Dr. Hellerstedt said. “This should make us all redouble our commitment to the infection prevention practices that we know work: masks any time you’re around people you don’t live with, social distancing, and personal and environmental hygiene.”

The variant, called COVID-19 B.1.1.7, appears to spread more easily from person to person than most strains of the coronavirus, but current evidence shows it does not cause more serious illness, DSHS said.

“Vaccines are expected to be effective against it,” the agency said.

The CDC website contains more information on COVID-19 variants, including COVID-19 B.1.1.7.

As always, find more information, tools, and resources on the Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Resource Center, which is updated continually.

Last Updated On

January 07, 2021

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David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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