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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.
The new variant is spreading rapidly across Britain and has been found in other countries, including the United States.
Its emergence has added a new level of urgency to the rollout of vaccines. Yet the administration of inoculations in the U.S. has been slow. The country missed its 2020 target of 20 million vaccinations.
Today, an exploration of two key issues in the fight against the pandemic.
On today’s episode
Carl Zimmer, a science writer and author of the “Matter” column for The New York Times.
Abby Goodnough, a national health care correspondent for The Times.
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.
The first case of the variant in the U.S. was found in Colorado in December. Pfizer has said that its vaccine works against the key mutation.
The distribution of vaccine in the U.S. is taking longer than expected — holiday staffing and saving doses for nursing homes are contributing to delays.
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Carl Zimmer and Abby Goodnough contributed reporting.
The Daily is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Alix Spiegel, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano and Soraya Shockley. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.
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