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World Health Organization upgrades threat warning for COVID-19 variant found in Tennessee

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The World Health Organization is sounding the alarm about a COVID-19 variant recently identified here in Tennessee.

CNBC quotes the WHO saying it is reclassifying COVID variant B1617 as a “variant of concern” at the global level.

The latest research shows the variant is extremely contagious and that current vaccines are less effective in preventing its transmission.

At the end of April, health officials in Memphis reported the variant had been detected in a COVID-19 patient who recently returned from a trip to India. The patient was reportedly isolated and all contacts traced.

Troubling variants first identified in Great Britain and South Africa have also been identified by State Health officials in Tennessee in recent months.

As of Tuesday morning, India has reported 23 million cases of COVID-19 and 250,000 virus related fatalities. Cases spiked on May 6 at 414,188 new infections reported in one, 24-hour period.

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