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COVID variant first detected in U.K. now most dominant strain in U.S., health experts say

While experts are encouraged by the rate of vaccinations, there is concern about the variant as cases increase across the country, particularly in young people.

ATLANTA — As Georgia’s COVID-19 cases slightly, experts warn the U.S. has entered a new phase of the pandemic. 

"Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the b.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," said Center for Disease Control Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

The highly contagious B-117 variant of the coronavirus first detected in the U.K. last year is now the most dominant strain of the virus across the U.S. 

The variant is already in Georgia, responsible for nearly 600 cases as reported by the CDC.   

While experts are encouraged by the rate of vaccinations, there is concern about the variant as cases increase across the country, particularly in young people.  

"Across the country, we're hearing reports of clusters of cases associated with daycare centers and youth sports. Hospitals are seeing more and more younger adults, those in their 30s and 40s admitted with severe disease," said Dr. Walensky.

The CDC recommends refraining from youth sports unless they are outside and can be played at least six feet apart. 

The agency also discourages large events. However, the city of Atlanta plans to allow outdoor events of up to 2,000 people starting in mid-May and Georgia, to quote Governor Brian Kemp, is "open for business". 

Despite progress in the fight against the virus, experts warn the it's not over yet.