Coronavirus variant from South Africa has reached the United States. Here’s where we know it exists
The South Africa COVID-19 variant is in the United States. Officials revealed where
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said the two cases don’t look to be connected, according to the AP.
Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious diseases physician at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, told The Associated Press that there could be undetected cases in the community since the cases aren’t linked.
- “That’s frightening,” said Kuppalli. “It’s probably more widespread.”
Details on the South African variant
According to The Washington Post, the South Africa variant led to “an enormous spike of new cases and deaths” because it is more transmissible.
The new variant has “not yet proved to be more lethal than others, including similarly highly transmissible variants recently detected in Britain and Brazil, but mutations that make it around 50% easier to catch have allowed it to stage a takeover of what was already out-of-control community transmission in South Africa,” The Washington Post reports.
- “This isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, according to The Associated Press.
- “We’re doing it today to be ahead of the curve should we need to,” Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told The New York Times. “I think of it as an insurance policy.”
- He added, “I don’t know if we need it, and I hope we don’t.”
What does Dr. Fauci say?
White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that the COVID-19 vaccine can be adapted to end mutations, according to CNBC.
- He said “booster” shots can be made to target the South Africa variant, for example.
- “We’re already trying to stay one or two steps ahead of the game so that if, in fact, we have a situation where the South African strain is prevalent here — it’s here, but it’s certainly not dominant — you want to really get ahead of it from a protection standpoint,” Fauci said, according to CNBC. “You’re going to want to have a vaccine that specifically addresses that strain.”
- “While more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, supplies are still limited. Every one of us must recommit to the fight by recognizing that we are all on the front lines now. We are all in this together.”