As 2020 drew to a close, a concerning development in the pandemic came out of Britain — a new variant of the coronavirus had been discovered that is significantly more transmissible. It has since been discovered in a number of countries, including the United States.
The emergence of the new variant has added a new level of urgency to the rollout of vaccines in the U.S., a process that has been slow so far.
Today, an exploration of two key issues in the fight against the pandemic.
Guests: [Carl Zimmer] (https://www.nytimes.com/by/carl-zimmer) , a science writer and author of the “Matter” column for The New York Times; [Abby Goodnough] (https://www.nytimes.com/by/abby-goodnough) , a national health care correspondent for The Times.
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---The new variant of the coronavirus, discovered in December, appears to be more contagious than, and genetically distinct from, more established variants. [ Here is what we know about it] (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/health/coronavirus-variant-transmission.html) .
---The first case of the variant in the U.S. was [ found in Colorado] (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/29/health/uk-coronavirus-variant-colorado.html) in December. Pfizer has said that [its vaccine works] (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/08/health/pfizer-covid-vaccine-variant-mutation.html) against the key mutation.
---The distribution of the vaccine in the U.S. [ is taking longer than expected] (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/31/health/vaccine-distribution-delays.html?searchResultPosition=4) — holiday staffing and saving doses for nursing homes are contributing to delays.
For more information on today’s episode, visit [nytimes.com/thedaily ] (http://nytimes.com/thedaily?smid=pc-thedaily)