"It's definitely home-grown and widespread," said researcher Keith Gagnon from Southern Illinois University.
The peer reviewed study, which was conducted by a group of Stanford researchers and published in the Wiley Online Library on January 5, analyzed coronavirus case growth in 10 countries in early 2020.
The study took place in Israel, which is currently leading the world in terms of vaccinating its population.
"We fear this mutation might have an impact, and what we don't know is the extent of the impact," said researcher Penny Moore.
Among those who have received their first dose are nearly 700,000 high-risk people in long-term care facilities.
Scientists say it is currently unclear whether or not the new variant is more transmissible and if vaccines will be less effective against it.
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Maximum protection from the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine—as well as long-lasting immunity—is only reached seven or more days after the second dose.
The variant appears to be significantly more transmissible than the original, although it does not seem to cause more severe illness.
Fauci's comments come as the U.S. reported more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday—a new daily record for the pandemic.
A handful of states in the Midwest, Northeast and the southwest reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people.
If necessary, it is "perfectly possible" to tweak existing vaccines so that they are effective against the new strain, the researcher said.
The workplace messaging app has been hit by a raft of problems with users unable to send or receive messages, connect to the platform or share files.
"We are not where we want to be, there's no doubt about that," Fauci said.
The WHO official's comments come as U.S. airports recorded their busiest day of the pandemic over the weekend.
"The Governor's statewide executive order allows food establishments to be open for in-person dining on New Years Eve," Greg Abbott tweeted.
America's top infectious diseases expert tells Newsweek: "We can end this outbreak…we know what the end game is, we've just got to implement it."
A video of a maskless man dressed as a priest kicking at a fellow store shopper prompts outrage on Reddit.
On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced that a man in the state had been infected with the new variant.
"If the variant is here, I want to know, because that would be problematic," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
More than 1.8 million children in the country have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began.
The new strain—dubbed the "B.1.1.7 lineage"—contains more than 20 separate mutations.
The new variant could be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original, although it does not appear to cause more severe disease.
"It is safe to be immunized after having been exposed to the virus," Moncef Slaoui said.
Vaccine providers should observe people with a history of anaphylaxis—a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction—due to any cause for 30 minutes after the individual receives the shot.
The nurse, who has a condition that often causes her to faint when she experiences pain, recovered quickly.
Los Angeles County is seeing "an explosive and very deadly surge," with an average of two COVID-19 deaths every hour, according to the county health department.
Chicago had the most new COVID-19 deaths in the past week among the five most populous cities.
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