CHICAGO, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Midwest state of Illinois has confirmed its first case of new COVID-19 variant called B.1.1.7, Chicago Tribune reported on Friday, quoting state and Chicago public health officials.
Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine identified the variant while analyzing samples of positive COVID-19 tests.
Chicago public health officials said the person with the variant had traveled to the United Kingdom and the Middle East in the two weeks prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The new variant was first identified in the United States in Colorado and has since spread to about a dozen states. The variant spreads more easily, experts believe, but there isn't evidence that it's more severe or increases the risk of death.