By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Amid the confusion over the distribution of the two COVID-19 vaccines, there’s another concern that could be as big.

What about the new coronavirus strain that’s popped up in England and is now in several U.S. states?

Katie asks via Instagram: “Is the new coronavirus strain from England going to spread in the U.S. and will the vaccines protect against it?

As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, experts do expect the so-called U.K. strain to spread and spread quickly in the U.S.

In fact, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb spoke about it on Face The Nation.

“There’s some estimates that the new variant probably represents about 1% of all new cases. By March, it’s going to be the majority of infections. It’s going to grow quickly,” Gottlieb said.

Some experts believe the new strain has been in the country for a while, but since we don’t do genetic sequencing on the virus nearly as much as the U.K., we did not detect it as quickly.

Still, the chief clinical officer for Yale New Haven Heath said the new strain is concerning.

MOREDr. Max Gomez Breaks Down What Is Known About New Coronavirus Strain Spreading Rapidly In The U.K.

“It is more infectious, maybe because people who get it have higher loads, viral loads of it, maybe because it docks into people’s respiratory tract better. We don’t know quite yet why, but it has become more effective at infecting people. However, it doesn’t change how it anyway in terms of how deadly it is,” said Dr. Tom Balcezak.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The good news, according to Dr. Balcezak, is there’s no evidence yet that the new strain can evade the vaccines now being distributed. Those shotS should be protective.

Regardless of this or any other strain that may pop up, Dr. Balcezak strongly reinforced the fact that mask wearing and social distancing will BE essential at least until a majority of the population is vaccinated.

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