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British coronavirus may have reached the US: Fauci

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force at the White House November 19, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

Top US infectious disease doctor has warned Americans to assume that a more contagious new strain of the COVID-19 virus detected in the United Kingdom is already in the US.

Veteran government scientists and immunologist Anthony Stephen Fauci told US media on Tuesday it was certainly possible that the new strain was already present in the United States.

"When you have this amount of spread within a place like the UK, you really need to assume that is here already," Fauci said.

The government's top health official noted that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had already suggested testing all arrivals to New York City.

British officials warned that the new variant of the novel coronavirus might be more contagious and spread more easily in children compared to the original virus that was first detected in Wuhan, China last year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged the public to remain vigilant during the upcoming holiday season as cases related to the UK's new COVID-19 strain had already appeared in other countries. 

It is estimated that the new variant spreads 50  percent to 70 percent faster than the original form of the virus.

Earlier strains of coronavirus found it harder to infect children in comparison to adults which were more susceptible to disease.

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