THE super infectious Kent variant of Covid could be the start of a "new pandemic" in the US, a leading expert has warned.
Dr. Michael Osterholm said young people are playing a role in the new wave of cases of the B117 Covid mutation, first identified in the United Kingdom.
The mutation now ripping through parts of America and Dr Osterholm said more than 740 schools reported cases of the variant in Minnesota alone.
Dr. Osterholm is the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
He was also a member of Joe Biden's Covid Advisory Board during the time between the President being elected and taking office.
“This B117 variant…this is almost like having a whole new pandemic descend upon us,” he told NBC News.
"Anywhere you look where you see this emerging, you see that kids are playing a huge role in the transmission of this.
"All the things that we had planned for about kids in schools with this virus are really no longer applicable. We've got to take a whole new look at this issue."
The new, more infectious variant of first found in Kent and led to the UK declaring a third lockdown in early January has been detected in cases around the world, including in the US.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 15,511 news cases of the Kent variant compared to 374 of the South African mutation.
Dr. Osterholm said the US was now facing a similar situation to the rest of the world.
"We are now seeing increasing number of severe illnesses [and] ICU hospitalisations in individuals 30 to 50 years of age who have not been vaccinated," he said.
"Please understand, this B.1.1.7 variant is a brand new ball game. The only good news is that our vaccines do work against it."
His warning follows that of Dr Anthony Fauci who said the US could be on the brink of a "disturbing surge" in Covid cases as worshipers pack out churches and some 1.6million fly over the Easter weekend.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has implored Americans to "hang in there a bit longer" and refrain becoming complacent by thinking the country has beaten Covid.
Dr Fauci warned that America is still in the midst of the pandemic with cases rising as restrictions are eased.
Speaking with CNN's Jim Acosta on Saturday, he said: "Just yesterday, we had over 60,000 new cases in a day. That's disturbing.
"That's what happened in Europe, and what is happening, and Europe, for the most part, is going through another disturbing surge.
"There is the danger of having a resurgence. And another big surge. So, don't declare, prematurely, victory. Because we're not there yet."
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