Variants make Minnesota new COVID-19 epicenter


GLEN STUBBE • Star Tribune

Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March at the Vikings practice facility in Eagan.

viral variant has become a dominant source of COVID-19 in Minnesota, causing as many as 65% of new infections and driving the state's case and hospitalization rates to some of the highest in the U.S.

A sampling of patients infected with the corona­virus that causes COVID-19 has identified 943 with the B.1.1.7 variant, which proved when it was found in England to be 50% more contagious and cause a 64% higher death rate.

The genetic ancestry of the variant cases showed that B.1.1.7 emerged earlier in Minnesota than originally known - perhaps in December when its existence was first reported in England, said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist.


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