January 20, 2021 1.12 pm This story is over 40 months old

COVID mutation takes hold in Lincolnshire

Health bosses expect it to take over old variant

Six in ten new COVID cases in Lincolnshire were with the new, more infectious variant in the first week of 2021.

The county council’s public health team said that by January 8, 59.2% of tests contained a variant of the virus — up from 36% in the last two weeks of 2020.

North East Lincolnshire’s latest epidemiology report says 50% of positive COVID tests contained the new variant in the first two weeks of January, up from 40% at the end of December.

The new strains of COVID-19 are believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the first circulating form of the virus.

Professor Derek Ward, Lincolnshire County Council’s director for public health, said he expected the new variants to “push the old one out”.

“At some point in the future 100% or 98% of our cases will be the new variants,” he said.

“The key point is the new variants are out there in South Africa and Brazil, but the key messages stay the same.

“It is a stay at home lockdown and it doesn’t matter which one it is, you’re not going to get it if you don’t go out the door, and, if you are going to have to go outdoors then remember hands, face, space.”

Pfizer said that their vaccine is effective against one key mutation, called N501Y, found in both of the new variants spreading in Britain and South Africa.

Meanwhile, under 70s could begin receiving the vaccine this week, as more than 4 million doses have been administered, the government said.