The national ensemble forecast, an aggregate of a number of independently developed forecasts meant to boost predictive power, projects up to 477,000 total Covid-19 deaths reported across the U.S.by February 6, an increase of over 90,000 in three weeks.
"The modeled trajectory of this variant in the US exhibits rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March", the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in their weekly report.
The increased transmissibility of the variant warrants universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking, the CDC said in a statement.
The variant is believed to be twice as contagious as the current version of the virus circulating in the US.
As the country is ramping up its vaccination campaign, many people are concerned about vaccines' efficacy against the new variants.
"This is the highest number of deaths and the second-highest weekly case number in our dataset", said a report of the tracking project.
They also added that this will be a factor in the increase of cases in March.
But while B.1.1.7 might be present at low levels now, it has the potential to drive a surge in US cases and outpace the most prevalent viral variants currently infecting people in two months, researchers report January 15 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
A previous lab study conducted by Pfizer, whose vaccine has been approved for public use in many countries, showed that their vaccines were able to protect against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new variants of the coronavirus discovered in Britain and South Africa.
The coronavirus variant was first identified in December in the United Kingdom (SN: 12/22/20).
Contact tracing is a public health strategy created to track down people who may have been exposed to an infected person. The new strain may also make achieving so-called "herd-immunity" more hard.
Meanwhile, even though there is no evidence yet which suggests that the new variant could trigger more severe symptoms but that is of a little reassurance given the speed of how the virus spreads.