Three new cases of the U.K. variant of the coronavirus have now been confirmed in Iowa, with two of those cases coming in Johnson County, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. 

The variant referred to as the U.K. variant because it was first discovered in the U.K., spreads more easily than the original strain of COVID-19. However, the vaccines currently being deployed in Iowa and around the nation are considered to be effective against it. The Gazette reports that two cases of the U.K. variant were located in Johnson County. One was in an adult between the ages of 18 and 40, the other was in an adult between the ages of 41 and 60. One other case was discovered in Bremer County. Public health officials don't believe the three individuals caught the virus from each other.

The Iowa state medical director and epidemiologist says that virus variants, or mutations, are expected. Along with the U.K. variant, there are also mutations that originated in South Africa and Brazil. Even though three cases have been officially determined in Iowa, it is likely that more U.K. variant cases exist in the state.

Experts are fearful that the U.K. strain will become the dominant COVID strain in the U.S. by the end of March and hit the U.S. hard. Dr. Michael Osterholm, a leading epidemiologist and a member of the Biden Administration's coronavirus advisory board, says that a "hurricane is coming." The surge from the U.K. variant will likely hit in the next six to fourteen weeks. Osterholm is urging the administration to get as many people vaccinated with at least the first dose of the vaccine as possible to help save lives.

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