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Colorado officials say two COVID-19 variants on the rise

Colorado officials say two COVID-19 variants on the
rise 1

DENVER — Colorado’s chief medical officer says two highly contagious COVID-19 strains that are harder to detect and more resistant to treatment could make up 30% of coronavirus cases in the state.

The strains, dubbed the California variant and the U.K. variant, also may cause more serious disease, says Dr. Eric France.

Colorado Politics reports that France says state officials are randomly testing hundreds of COVID-positive samples to find the variants. The state has extrapolated initial findings to come up with the 30% estimate.

The strains are named on where they were first detected — Britain and California, respectively. The U.K variant has filled hospital beds in Italy and elsewhere. The California strain was detected in the fall and now is prevalent in that state as well as New Mexico and Arizona.

Colorado on Friday is entering a new stage in its vaccination plan in which people 50 and older, restaurant workers and those age 16 and older with underlying health conditions are eligible for shots.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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