A new strain of COVID discovered in the United Kingdom is believed to already be spreading in the U.S., according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC officials made the announcement Tuesday and pointed out in a scientific brief that scientists are working to better understand how easily this new virus – which appears to have first appeared in the U.K. -might be transmitted. They still do not yet know why it has emerged in the U.K, according to the reports.
“Although a variant may predominate in a geographic area, that fact alone does not mean that the variant is more infectious,” the CDC said. The CDC also warned that even though this new strain of COVID has not yet been detected yet in the U.S., there is no reason not to believe that it is already circulating.
“Ongoing travel between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the high prevalence of this variant among current U.K. infections, increase the likelihood of importation. Given the small fraction of U.S. infections that have been sequenced, the variant could already be in the United States without having been detected,” the CDC said.
For more on this story go to The Hill.
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Rep. Patrick McHenry Announces Retirement, Adding to Congressional Exodus
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has declared that he will not seek re-election, becoming the latest in a growing list of lawmakers departing from Congress. McHenry, a close ally of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, stated that he believes “there is a season for everything,” signaling the end of his tenure in the House. Having served since 2005, McHenry is the 37th member of Congress to announce they won’t seek re-election in 2024.
In a statement, McHenry reflected on the significance of the House of Representatives in the American political landscape, calling it the “center of our American republic.” He acknowledged the concerns about the future of the institution due to multiple departures but expressed confidence that new leaders would emerge and guide the House through its next phase.
The departure of McHenry and others comes against the backdrop of political shifts and challenges within the Republican Party. The GOP has faced setbacks in recent elections, including fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Internal strife and disagreements, exemplified by the rebellion against McCarthy, have characterized the party’s dynamics. The GOP’s approval rating stands at 30%, with a disapproval rating of 66%, reflecting the challenges and divisions within the party.
As McHenry steps aside, questions loom over the fate of open seats in the upcoming election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report identifies five open House seats as potential Democrat pickup opportunities, while none are listed for the GOP. The departures raise concerns about the party’s unity and ability to navigate the evolving political landscape.
With a total of 20 departing Democratic legislators and 10 Republicans, the changing composition of Congress adds complexity to the political dynamics leading up to the 2024 elections. As McHenry emphasizes a hopeful view of the House’s future, the evolving political landscape will determine the impact of these departures on the balance of power in Congress.
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