A more-easily spread coronavirus variant first identified in England last year has now become the dominant strain in the U.S., the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, spread quickly across the U.K. and Ireland beginning last fall, with the more infectious version of coronavirus thwarting restrictions and lockdowns that had earlier helped keep the original strain in check.

B.1.1.7 is “now the most common lineage circulating in United States,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House media briefing on Wednesday.

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