New UK COVID variant confirmed in Southern California

Lara Korte

Lara Korte

The Sacramento Bee

A mutated variant of the coronavirus thought to have originated in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday during a conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“Just an hour or so ago, we were informed that this new variant, new strain … has been identified here in the state of California, in Southern California,” Newsom said.

The first case of the variant in the U.S. was identified Tuesday in Colorado. This variant of the virus is more easily transmitted between persons, but it does not make people more sick or more likely to die than the normal version of the virus, Fauci said.

Ultimately, Fauci said he’s not surprised to see a case of the mutant variant in California.

“I don’t think that the Californians should feel this is something odd,” he said. “This is something that’s expected.”

“It looks pretty clear from the UK group that in fact the transmissibility of this mutant is more efficient than the transmissibility of the standard virus we’ve been dealing with up to now,” Fauci said.

“There’s no indication at all that it increases the virulency, the ability to make you sick or kill you.”

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