Michigan adds 4,222 coronavirus cases, 51 deaths

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — 4,222 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Michigan today, alongside 51 deaths.

Michigan’s current case total is now at 488,144 total cases, with 12,333 total deaths.

In Ingham County alone there are 12,212 cases and 181 confirmed deaths.

Coronavirus variant news

DENVER (AP) — The first reported U.S. case of the COVID-19 variant that’s been seen in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday, adding urgency to efforts to vaccinate Americans.

The variant was found in a man in his 20s who is in isolation southeast of Denver in Elbert County and has no travel history, state health officials said.

For the moment, the variant is likely still rare in the U.S., but the lack of travel history in the first case means it is spreading, probably seeded by travelers from Britain in November or December, said scientist Trevor Bedford, who studies the spread of COVID-19 at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

New variants of the coronavirus have been seen almost since the virus was first detected in China nearly a year ago. It is common for viruses to undergo minor changes as they reproduce and move through a population. The slight modifications are how scientists track the spread of a virus from one place to another.

But if the virus has significant mutations, one concern is that current vaccines might no longer offer the same protections. Although that’s a possibility to watch for over time with the coronavirus, experts say they don’t believe it will be the case with the latest variant.

The U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7, has also been found in Canada, Italy, India and the United Arab Emirates.

South Africa has also discovered a highly contagious COVID-19 variant that is driving the country’s latest spike of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The variant, known as 501.V2, is dominant among the newly confirmed infections in South Africa, according to health officials and scientists leading the country’s virus strategy.

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