Alarm bells are sounding for some health officials as a new, possibly more transmissible COVID-19 variant has now been identified in 49 states.
The mu variant, first discovered in Colombia in January, is threatening to become the dominant strain of the virus, potentially overtaking the Delta variant, as health officials continue to combat the constantly mutating virus.
According to reports, the only state in the US that has not recorded a case of the mu virus is Nebraska after the strain it made its presence known in Alaska and Hawaii recently.
The new variant is believed to be more transmissible than the Delta variant and could potentially resist vaccines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert said over the weekend that the Delta variant represented more than 99 percent of new US cases, noting that the mu variant demonstrated mutations that "indicate that it might evade the protection from certain antibodies.”
Newsweek reported that California has reported the highest number of cases of the new variant, with nearly 400 mu infections recorded.
In August, the World Health Organization called the mu variant “one of interest” due to its ability to be more transmissible.
“The mu variant is found to have key mutations linked to greater transmissibility and the potential to evade antibodies," a statement from LA County Public Health said. "More studies are needed to determine whether mu variant is more contagious, more deadly, or more resistant to vaccine and treatments than other COVID-19 strains.
"This is what makes getting vaccinated and layering protections so important,” Barbara Ferrer, the director of LA County Public Health added in the statement. “These are actions that break the chain of transmission and limits COVID-19 proliferation that allows for the virus to mutate into something that could be more dangerous."
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