California identifies its first case of new COVID-19 strain

Pablo Tucker
January 2, 2021

Fauci made his remarks during an online discussion of the pandemic with California Governor Gavin Newsom, who announced at the outset that a more infectious coronavirus variant originally found in Britain has been detected in his state, a day after the first known USA case was documented in Colorado.

"I don't think Californians should feel that this is something odd - it is something that's expected", he said.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday he was confident that early glitches in distribution of the vaccine will be overcome.

On a more worrisome note, Southern California's hospitals are already losing room for COVID-19 patients as ICU space in the region already dropped to 0%.

Fauci said that assuming that if the vaccination campaign "progresses as it should" by July, there will be enough herd immunity by early fall of 2021 to return to a situation with "strong semblance of normality", opening up restaurants, theaters, schools, and sports events.

The variant of the virus first discovered in Britain does not seem to induce more severe symptoms in those infected but it does appear to spread "considerably faster", he said.

The nursing home said it is working closely with the state and is also looking forward to beginning vaccinations next week. The new variant has also been found in several other countries.

But a faster-spreading virus could swamp hospitals with seriously ill patients while the United States is now in the midst of a record-breaking surge of cases and deaths.

About 2.8 million Americans received a COVID-19 vaccine by December 31, falling far short of a 20 million target. And now, a lab in Colorado has identified the first confirmed case of the new strain in the United States.

The U.S. government on Monday began requiring all airline passengers arriving from Britain - including U.S. citizens - to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure.

"It's already something that we have seen that can spread efficiently, so this just amps it up one more notch", she told local media. "It's all over the place".

Colorado public health officials are conducting contact tracing to determine its spread. Simla is about 50 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. "So, when you have a lot of virus that's circulating in the community, it means it's infecting a lot of people; it's replicating a lot".

The new variant is believed to have originated in southeast England, according to the World Health Organization. France also briefly barred trucks from Britain before allowing them back in, provided the drivers got tested for the virus.

New versions of the virus have been seen nearly 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.

But if the virus has significant mutations, one concern is that current vaccines might no longer offer the same protections.

He also stressed that the so-called United Kingdom variant is believed to be no more severe in the illness it causes, and that newly approved COVID-19 vaccines will prove just as effective against it as against earlier known forms of the virus.

Other reports by iNewsToday