A new COVID-19 challenge: Mutations rise along with cases

Mutations to the virus that causes COVID-19 are rapidly popping up and health officials say the pandemic could get worse unless people do more to curb cases. Each new infection gives the virus a chance to mutate. So far, vaccines seem to remain effective against the new variants, but the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely it is that a version of the virus that can elude defenses could emerge. In the United States, health officials say a new variant first identified in the United Kingdom may become dominant in the U.S. by March and cause more hospitalizations and deaths because it spreads more easily.