CA Governor Gavin Newsom, Health Officials Concerned About New, Potentially More Contagious Covid-19 Strain, Calls On Federal Government To Act
During his press conference on Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state is monitoring a new, potentially more infectious strain of Covid-19. British officials have indicated that the variant of the virus could be up to 70% more transmissible.
"We haven't seen anything related to this strain. No evidence yet," he said, before discovering that the state had genetically tested samples for the new strain through the SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing initiative.
The concern is about a newly mutated form of the virus that is being reported in the UK. The country's Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a complete lockdown of London and the surrounding area this weekend in an attempt to contain the new variant. Canada, Austria, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands are among the many countries that have banned travel from the UK.
A similar mutation in the virus was discovered in South Africa. According to scientists, it shares one of the mutations seen in the British variant. This virus has been found in up to 90 percent of the genetic sequences analyzed in South Africa since mid-November, according to the New York Times.
Viruses mutate regularly. This is one of the reasons why there is a different form of the flu vaccine every winter. Sometimes the deviations are significant, sometimes they are practically unnoticed. In the 1918 pandemic flu, its third wave in the US made the virus less lethal.
The newly identified mutation appears to be neither more nor less fatal, according to medical experts. They also say the vaccines that have been developed are likely to keep their effectiveness against it. However, there are concerns about its infectivity.
According to NBC News, the new strain has already moved outside of the UK and has been spotted in Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Iceland.
“I hope that the federal government will take action in this area. You should, ”said Newsom. "We have seen Canada, we have seen so many other jurisdictions around the world that ... In the absence of that, we will have different testing and quarantine strategies and these have been activated as part of those talks." As soon as I have more information, I will share that information with you. "
Commenting on the mutation, Mark Ghaly, director of California Health and Human Services, said, "It's a little stickier than the virus we're used to." The new mutated virus seems to bind a little tighter and get into the cell more easily, ”he said.
"We want to make sure we can react very quickly when we see this stress," said Ghaly. "To be honest, we're concerned about the unknowns."
"Honestly, we are concerned about the strangers," he continued. "We are concerned that we are not sure how this will affect global efforts to contain and mitigate the virus currently present."
"We would like to make some recommendations for further monitoring of people from these infected areas," Newsom said.
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