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Illinois’ First Case of More Contagious Brazilian COVID-19 Variant Reported in Chicago

The Chicago Department of Public Health reported the city’s first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant Friday, which also marked the first such case in Illinois, according to health officials.

The case of the coronavirus variant P.1, which was identified by a research team at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was confirmed in an individual who hasn’t recently traveled outside Illinois.

The Brazil variant is a distinct variation from those seen in Britain and South Africa and thought to be more transmissible than the coronavirus strain that was prevalent at the beginning of the pandemic. 

In late January, health officials in Minnesota announced the first case of the variant in the United States, which was a person who traveled to the South American nation. 

Illinois reported its first case of the variant first discovered in South Africa on Feb. 11, while the U.K. strain was initially reported in Chicago on Jan. 15.

Health experts believe the current vaccines in the U.S. provide at least some level of protection against these variants, though Chicago’s top doctor previously noted one of the three strains poses a bigger risk than others and that is the variant out of South Africa.

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