A more transmissible coronavirus variant first detected in Britain does not cause more severe illness in hospitalized patients, according to a new study published by the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. The study, released late Monday, contradicts earlier findings that linked the variant with increased covid-related disease and death. Known as B.1.1.7, the variant has ripped through populations in Europe and is now the dominant virus variant in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Lancet study confirmed that the variant is more contagious than the original strain, resulting in higher viral loads in infected patients, but does not necessarily produce a more lethal illness.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The CDC director said Monday that to stem the rampant spread of coronavirus in Michigan, the state needs to “shut things down” rather than hope the federal government will send extra doses of vaccines.
  • College students are being asked to forgo coronavirus vaccines to take part in a massive study across 20 universities to see if vaccines block transmission, allowing people to finally abandon masks.
  • The federal government spent $660 billion more than it collected this March, the Treasury Department said Monday, primarily on the disbursal of tens of millions of $1,400 stimulus payments under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
  • After global decreases in the number of new coronavirus cases in January and February, there have been steady rises over the past seven weeks under pressure from new variants with dire consequences, the World Health Organization warned.
  • More than 22 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and deaths are declining steadily, even while new cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. So far, 561,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the country.