San Dieguito Academy Newspaper

Researchers discover a new COVID-19 variant

The new strain of Covid-19 is said to be rapidly spreading across the U.S.

January 21, 2021

Ohio State University researchers discovered SARS-Cov-2, a COVID-19 strain, in late Dec. 2020 and January. This new variant has traveled to Florida, California, and Colorado. 

The new strain produces very similar symptoms in an infected person to what the world has seen up to today: cough, loss of taste, loss of smell, and more. However, studies have shown that this new strain is potentially more transmissible or contagious than previously discovered strains.

 The CDC has been keeping a close eye on this new variant and reminds the public that new variants of Covid-19 are not unexpected. “Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist,” according to CDC. 

The CDC currently says that this new strain doesn’t cause more severe illness or increased death risk than the original COVID-19 virus. 

While various new strains of Covid-19 were found in Brazil, South Africa, and The United Kingdom, two studies conducted by Southern Illinois University found that this new strain originated in the US. It’s the most contagious strain to date. According to this study, this strain is believed to make up soon more than 50% of the cases found in the US. and is 50% more contagious than the initial strain that began in Wuhan, China, over a year ago. 

This variant was first discovered in Texas and has now been identified in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, New York, Georgia, Colorado, and Florida. While the number of overall cases is low, with the highest concentrated number of cases being just 26 in California, the numbers are still growing. The CDC warns that the emergence of multiple new strains of Covid-19 could potentially fuel enormous spikes in overall coronavirus cases.  

The CDC continues to urge everyone to follow social-distancing and wellness protocols–like wearing masks out in public and keeping six feet distance whenever possible–to continue making strides toward putting an end to Covid-19.

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