On the Site:


What You Need To Know About The ‘UK Variant’ Of COVID-19

Jan 15, 2021, 10:27 PM | Updated: 11:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The first confirmed positive case of the so-called “U.K. variant” in Utah is a man who tested positive last month. And he caught in the state, meaning the variant — while still new — has been in the state for weeks.

The fact that COVID-19 has mutated is not a surprise. It is what viruses do to survive, “the way they stay ahead of our immune system,” according to Dr. Stephen Goldstein, an expert in virus evolution in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah.

Goldstein said, “most of those mutations are meaningless.” But sometimes, “mutations will come up that give a variant that has that mutation some kind of advantage. And when that’s the case, that variant can take off.”

In this case, the so-called U.K. variant of COVID-19 allows virus particles “to bind more tightly to our cells than it otherwise can,” Goldstein said.

“It’s going to increase the likelihood that when it sticks onto your cell, it’s then going to get in,” he said, meaning it may take less virus to get someone sick. “Maybe you don’t need to get exposed to 500 virus particles. Maybe now 250 is enough, or something like that.”

In other words, it is easier to get sick with the new variant. But it still spreads the same way. The symptoms are the same and, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn, “don’t appear to be more severe or more deadly.”

Still, it means more infections, which will lead to more people in hospital ICUs, which Dunn warned are above capacity. That’s why she’s again calling for Utahns to step up.

“It is more transmissible. It’s more contagious than the other variants of COVID. Now more than ever we really need to be practicing good public health practice by wearing a face mask, staying home when we’re sick, avoiding large gatherings and physical distancing as much as we can,” she said.

“Do everything. Use every one of these tools we have in our arsenal, whether if for you that’s getting vaccinated, get vaccinated,” Goldstein said. “If you can’t get vaccinated yet, wear the best mask you can.”

It’s difficult to know how widespread the variant is in Utah. Identifying the new variant takes more than a typical COVID-19 test. It requires the test and then DNA sequencing at the lab. But the state is only sequencing about 10% of positive test results.

KSL 5 TV Live


FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests indicating a positive result are photographed in New York, April...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

8 days ago

FILE - Doses of the anti-viral drug Paxlovid are displayed in New York, Aug. 1, 2022. The COVID-19 ...

Amanda Seitz, Associated Press

COVID-19 treatments to enter the market with a hefty price tag

The COVID-19 treatments millions of have taken for free from the federal government will enter the private market next week with a hefty price tag.

1 month ago

Toddlers dance during play time at Living Water Child Care and Learning Center as center director J...

Associated Press

Child care programs just lost thousands of federal dollars. Families, providers scramble to cope

After two years of receiving federal subsidies, 220,000 child care programs across the country were cut off from funding Saturday Utah

2 months ago

Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly, right, announces the winner of the 2023 Nobel Pri...

David Keyton and Mike Corder

Nobel in medicine goes to 2 scientists whose work enabled creation of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19

Two scientists have won the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries that enabled the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 and could be used in the future to create other shots.

2 months ago

child in doctor's office...

Mike Anderson

Flu, COVID cases expected to rise in Utah

The number of COVID-19 diagnoses continues to stay above what we saw over the summer but now some doctors are starting to see early signs of the flu as well.

2 months ago

President Joe Biden in State Dining Room at the White House...

Associated Press

Biden has gotten the updated COVID-19 vaccine and the annual flu shot, the White House says

The White House says President Joe Biden has gotten the updated COVID-19 vaccine and the annual flu shot.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

What You Need To Know About The ‘UK Variant’ Of COVID-19