Will Highly Contagious COVID Strains Doom Movie Theaters’ Reopening Plans?

Long-suffering theater chains will have to see who wins the race between the vaccine and more infectious versions of the virus

The pandemic has thrown another curveball to the beleaguered movie theater industry: Newly discovered highly contagious variants could further delay the widespread reopening of theaters.

The variants are natural mutations that have developed over the past year of the pandemic, and the one that has epidemiologists most concerned is called B117, a more easily transmissible variant first discovered in Great Britain and now found in at least 20 U.S. states. In an interview on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said that preliminary evidence from British scientists suggests — but does not yet prove — that B117 may also be a deadlier version of the virus.

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Jeremy Fuster

Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com