The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it has identified the first case of the P.1 COVID-19 variant in a Bay County resident.
The P.1 variant, which originated in Brazil, is the second new variant of the virus found in Michigan. The B.1.1.7 variant, known as the U.K. variant, has been spreading through the state since it was first identified in February.
The P.1 variant has been estimated to be approximately 2.5 times more transmissible than the original virus, leading to faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and potentially deaths. It may also increase the chance of reinfection.
"We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan," said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. "It is now even more important that Michiganders continue to do what works to slow the spread of the virus by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible."
Research suggests that all of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the U.S. are effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and deaths related to these known variants.