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Baker: Assume more contagious strain is here

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Colin A. Young

Gov. Charlie Baker is assuming that the more contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom late last year is already circulating in Massachusetts, even if the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has not officially identified it here.

The CDC said the mutated strain of the coronavirus “emerged with an unusually large number of mutations” and “seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants.” It has been identified in Colorado, California, Florida and upstate New York.

“I think most of us are working on the assumption that it’s here. I mean, there’d be no reason not to given the contagious nature of this new variant,” Baker said Tuesday during a visit to Baystate Medical Center.

He said people need to “take seriously this idea that we were already dealing with a very contagious virus in the first place which we now have a new variant that’s even more contagious than the original one” and be especially vigilant about mitigation efforts.

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