The United States now has its own version of COVID-19, and scientists believe the growing strain may be linked to the wave in Los Angeles County cases.
Two independent research groups have discovered the strain in California while searching for the more contagious, possibly more deadly British variant in the state. Although the researchers found the British strain – B.1.1.7 – in scattered cases in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino counties, they did not expect to find a domestic variant.
The California variant, CAL.20C, was barely detectable in early October, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said. But by the end of December, it accounted for 24 percent of the virus samples taken from patients in Southern California and about 36 percent of the samples tested in Los Angeles.
The strain, scientists warned in their research report, “may be partly responsible for the magnitude of the increase in COVID-1
Los Angeles County is emerging as one of the hotspots for coronavirus in the country. As of mid-January, the county reported more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 14,000 deaths. More than two-thirds of the cases have occurred since early November, which is approximately the time or shortly thereafter, according to scientists, the California variant has taken off.
The option has also been found in Northern California, New York, Washington, DC and abroad in Oceania.
Although scientists suspect that the strain is more contagious, they still do not know if it is more dangerous or deadly or if vaccines will be as effective against it.
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