The lack of Covid testing capacity in the US could mean that the new, highly transmissible strain of coronavirus, which first appeared in the UK, is already making its way through communities in the US.
That's what Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, the medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston Medical Center.
"To find this strain, we need to take a percentage of the diagnosed samples and do an in-depth genetic analysis (in the) In the US, our capacity was not spectacular, "said the infectious disease doctor "The News with Shepard Smith" on Monday. "If the burden is here, we may be missing it because the holes in our net are too wide."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new variant has not been detected in the United States.
However, the agency said viruses were only sequenced from approximately 51,000 of the 17 million infections in the country. The UK recorded the most sequences with 125.00. The infections in Great Britain reached their second highest daily value on Christmas Eve. The country confirmed 39,036 new Covid-19 cases that day.
As of Monday, the US will require all travelers flying from the UK to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test as concerns about the new variant of the virus grow.
Dr. Bhadelia, who is also the medical assistant for NBC News, said the measures did not go far enough.
"You can still have people who test negative, get on the plane and then come back positive. So I think testing needs to be linked to some kind of quarantine," she said.
Japan has taken stricter measures and stopped all arrivals of foreign nationals. More than a dozen countries have reported cases of the rapidly spreading mutation, including Canada, France, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.
Health experts in the UK and US found that while the new variant appears to be more transmissible, there is still no evidence that it is more lethal. Dr. Bhadelia warned that the results shouldn't make people complacent when it comes to the new strain.
"The problem is that while we don't think it increases mortality, the fact that it is more easily transmitted is also a bigger problem because the more people get infected, the more people end up in hospitals. and possibly die, "she added.