Updated Dec 31, 2020 - Health
California reports first case of new coronavirus variant
California reported its first case of a new variant of the coronavirus that may be more transmissible, AP reports.
The big picture: California is the second state to document a confirmed case of the variant — which originated in the United Kingdom — after Colorado reported the first case in the United States on Tuesday.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the infection during an online conversation with Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to AP.
- The governor said the case was located in Southern California, but he did not provide any other details about the person who was infected.
- “I don’t think Californians should think that this is odd. It’s to be expected,” Fauci said Wednesday, per AP.
Of note: There is thus far no evidence that the new variant is more deadly — only that it appears more transmissible. There is also no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines will be less effective against the new variant.
- A non-peer reviewed study by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that the variant is 56% more transmissible than other strains.
- The British government previously warned that a new variant could be up to 70% more transmissible.
Go deeper: What you need to know about the coronavirus mutation