California has the second nationally confirmed case of the virus variant

Sacramento, Dec. 31: California has announced the nation’s second confirmed case of the new, apparently more contagious variant of coronavirus, a strong indication that the infection is spreading more widely in the United States.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the infection found in Southern California during an online conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“I don’t think Californians should think it’s weird. It is to be expected “, said Fauci.
Newsom did not provide any details about the person who was infected.
The announcement came 24 hours after learning of the first infection reported in the US, which appeared in Colorado. The person was identified Wednesday as a Colorado national guardian who had been sent to help a nursing home struggling with an outbreak.
Health officials said a second member of the Guard could also have one.
The cases have raised a number of questions about how the version circulating in England has reached the US and whether it is too late to stop it now, with top experts saying it is probably already spreading to another part of the United States.
“The virus is better suited and we are like a deer in the headlights,” warned Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
He noted that the US does much less genetic sequencing of virus samples to detect variants than other developed nations, and was therefore probably slow to detect this new mutation.
The two members of the Guard were sent on December 23 to work at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in the small town of Simla, in a predominantly rural area, about 90 miles outside Denver, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, an epidemiologist. Of the state.
They were among six members of the Guard sent home. Nasal swab samples taken from the two as part of routine Garda coronavirus tests were sent to the state laboratory, which began searching for the variant after its spread was announced in the UK earlier this month. said Herlihy.
Samples of staff and nursing home residents are also being tested for the lab variant, but so far no evidence has been found, she said.
The Colorado case announced on Tuesday involved a 20-year-old man who had not traveled recently, officials said.
He has mild symptoms and is isolated at his home near Denver, while the person with the suspected case is isolated at a hotel in Colorado, while additional genetic tests are being performed on his sample, officials said.
The nursing home said it is working closely with the state and is looking forward to starting vaccinations next week.
Several states, including California, Massachusetts and Delaware, are also analyzing suspicious virus samples for the variant, said Dr. Greg Armstrong, who directs genetic sequencing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
He said the CDC is working with a national laboratory that is obtaining samples from across the country to expand the search, with expected results in a few days.
The discovery in Colorado added urgency to the national vaccination effort against COVID-19, which killed more than 340,000 people in the United States.
The UK is seeing infections rise and hospitalizations are rising to the highest levels. The variant has been found in several other countries.
Scientists have found no evidence that it is more lethal or causes more severe disease, and they believe the vaccines now being released will be effective against it. But a faster-spreading virus could multiply hospitals with seriously ill patients.
The discovery from abroad prompted the CDC to issue rules on Christmas Day, requiring travelers arriving from the UK to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test. U.S. health officials say the lack of Colorado patient travel history suggests the new variant is already spreading in the country.
Topol said it was too late for travel bans.
“I found her behind. Colorado is probably one of the many places where it landed here, “he said.
“It’s all over. How can you ban travel everywhere? Colorado public health officials are tracking contacts to determine their spread.
Researchers estimate that the variant is 50% to 70% more contagious, said Dr. Eric France, Colorado’s chief physician.
“Instead of making only two or three other people sick, you could spread them to four or five people,” France said.
“This means that we will have more cases in our communities. That number of cases will increase rapidly and, of course, with more cases will come more hospitalizations. “
London and the south-east of England were subject to strict blockade measures earlier this month because of the variant, and dozens of countries have banned flights from the UK.
France also briefly banned trucks from the UK before allowing them to return, provided drivers were tested for the virus.
New versions of the virus have been seen since it was first detected in China a year ago. It is common for viruses to undergo minor changes as they reproduce and move through a population.
The fear is that the mutations at some point will become significant enough to defeat vaccines.
South Africa has also discovered a highly contagious variant of COVID-19, which is causing the latest increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the country. (Ies)