Epidemiologist on new Covid-19 strain in the United Kingdom

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Published at : 26 Dec 2020
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Dr. David Levy is an epidemiologist and CEO of EHE Health, a national health-care provider to big companies like BNP Paribas, IBM and Lockheed Martin. Dr. Levy joined "Squawk Box" on Monday to discuss the new strain of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom as well as some of the best practices for fighting the virus. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi

England’s top medical officer on Saturday announced that the U.K. has identified a new variant of the coronavirus that “can spread more quickly” than prior strains of the virus, leading Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose fresh restrictions on parts of the nation to control its spread.

“We’re learning about it as we go, but we already know enough, more than enough, to be sure that we must act now,” Johnson said during a press briefing on Saturday where he laid out fresh restrictions on London and other parts of England ahead of the Christmas holiday.

“When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense,” Johnson said.

The U.K. government first announced details of the new coronavirus strain on Monday last week, following an increase in cases in the southern and eastern parts of England. Just over 1,100 Covid-19 cases with the new variant had been identified as of Sunday, according to a statement from Public Health England.

Now, it’s thought that the new strain could be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain of the disease, Johnson said on Saturday, adding that it appears to be driving the rapid spread of infections. Johnson called on residents to refrain from traveling and “stay local” to prevent the new strain from moving around the country and abroad.

The United Kingdom is reporting roughly 24,061 new Covid-19 cases every day, based on a weekly average, which is a more than 40% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

“This is early data, and it’s subject to review, but it’s the best that we have at the moment and we have to act on information as we have it because this is now spreading very fast,” Johnson said.

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