Coronavirus variant from Brazil detected for first time in Colorado

    BRIEF

    The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Labs)

    Colorado public health officials announced Tuesday that the first cases of COVID-19 infections from the P.1 coronavirus variant had been detected in the state. Two P.1 cases were identified in patients who are residents of Boulder County, according to a news release.

    The P.1 variant is associated with devastating virus spread in Brazil. It had previously been identified in 25 jurisdictions in the United States and its territories, and it was first detected in the United States in January. The variant has alarmed some public health officials, because it “packs a suite of mutations that make it more transmissible and potentially more dangerous” than other coronavirus variants, according to The Washington Post.

    Other variants of concern that have been detected in Colorado are the B.1.351, or South African, variant, and the B.1.1.7 variant.

    Early research indicates that the three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized — the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines — are effective against the variants, according to the news release, which adds, “Experts stress that getting vaccinated can provide significant protection against transmission and severe illness from COVID-19.”

    The seven-day average of new cases in Colorado, after falling from about 2,500 in early January, began rising again in mid-March. On March 16 the average seven-day case count was 856 a day, but by April 5 it had climbed to 1,261. During that stretch, on March 24, Colorado eased many COVID restrictions.

    All Coloradans 16 and older as of Friday are now eligible to receive a vaccine.

    For more information about how to sign up for vaccination, visit cocovidvaccine.org or call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).