Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that it’s “certainly possible” that the new strain of the novel coronavirus that has emerged in the United Kingdom could already be in the U.S.
“That’s certainly possible, I mean, when you have this amount of spread within a place like the U.K., that you really need to assume that it’s here already, and certainly is not the dominant strain, but I would not be surprised at all if it is already here,” Fauci said during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CNN reported.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, dismissed the possibility of a U.K. travel ban, saying such a move would be “really a rather dramatic step.”
“That’s not that’s not really in the cards right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the requirement of testing is something that is being actively considered right now,” he said.
Health experts say the new strain may be more contagious than others, but there is no evidence yet it is more severe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website Tuesday that the U.K. mutation has not yet been detected during sequencing efforts in the U.S., though less than half a percent of U.S. cases have been sequenced, CNN reported.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. has roughly 18.1 million coronavirus cases and 321,000 virus-related deaths, both tops globally, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.