The variant, which is known as B.1.1.7, is able to infect people more quickly, which is led to believe to the infection spike overseas.
Colorado was the first state in America to have detected the new strain, but shortly after, cases popped up in California, Florida, Georgia and New York. However, the nation's top infectious disease specialist said he would be "very surprised" if the variant had not already spread into "several more" areas of the country and was "more widespread in the United States than we are currently detecting it to be."
The doc reasoned that prior to a confirmed case of the new strain showing up in Colorado, he predicted that it was already spreading around the country.
"I was saying that I'm certain it's here, we just haven't detected it yet," he explained in a January 6 interview with Newsweek. "And I think it's pretty clear that if it's in places like California, and New York and Colorado ... that pretty soon it's going to be in several more states."
Although the new strain doesn't appear to be more deadly, it's still something that should cause alarm.
"We take that very seriously. Because if you have greater transmissibility, you will get more cases," Fauci said. "When you get more cases, you get more hospitalizations. And when you get more hospitalizations, you ultimately wind up getting more deaths."
And though the strain has hit the U.S., it's not Fauci's biggest concern.
"We have our own problems with surging cases. I don't think that the U.K. mutation [variant] has been responsible for the rather substantial surge of cases in the United States, because the U.K. variant is here, but it's not the dominant strain in the United States," he noted. "But even with that not being the dominant strain, we still have a very steep curve of cases in our country."
On January 7, the COVID Tracking Project reported the U.S. saw 132,370 hospitalizations and a record 4,033 deaths that same day due to the virus.