U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 350,000

 

The U.S. has hit another devastating milestone: COVID-19 has killed more than 350,000 people in the country, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The grim number comes as a new variant of the coronavirus is spreading across dozens of countries.

The coronavirus variant was first spotted last month in the U.K. and has now spread to dozens of countries, likely passed on by infected people who traveled around the world and unknowingly brought the microscopic invaders with them.

The variant is now in dozens of countries, including the United States, where it has infected people in Colorado, California and Florida.

Health care workers are bracing for a particularly deadly January, after the U.S saw record high numbers of infections in December. President-elect Joe Biden cautioned this week that “the next few weeks and months are going to be very tough, a very tough period for our nation — maybe the toughest during this entire pandemic.”

Researchers say the new variant — dubbed B.1.1.7 — probably originated in the South East region of England in September, before being detected there in November. According to a new report from Imperial College London, Britain’s November lockdown did little to curb its spread, which was most prevalent in young people under 20 years old. The World Health Organization says the new variant is responsible for more than half of new infections in the U.K.

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