DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – During Sunday’s Face the Nation interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at first, a group of British investigators believed the B.1.1.7 CCOVID-19 variant first seen in the UK was more contagious, but not more deadly.

“But when the British investigators looked more closely at the death rate of a certain age group they found that it was one to per thousand we’ll say… and then it went up to 1.3 per thousand in a certain group so that’s a significant increase,” he said.

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Fauci says he wants to look at the data for himself but has every reason to believe the investigators are accurate.

“They’re a very confident group,” he said.

The CDC warns B.1.1.7 could be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.

In Dallas County, so far, four cases have been identified, and Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang says there may be more.

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“We don’t think these are the only four that would’ve been identified,” he said. “We just caught them. I think it indicates that it is in our community. This just reinforces even more why we can’t let our guard down. We just need to do everything that we can to continue to slow the spread.”

He points out the vaccine does appear to be effective against this variant.

As we head into this week, almost 400,000 people have signed up for Dallas County’s vaccine waiting list. The county has a allocation of 9,000 vaccinations this week.

“We want to get everyone vaccinated as soon as we can but just understand that the number of vaccines that are currently available are very small,” Huang said.

He said as the county works to secure more doses, people need to understand the constraints.

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Erin Jones