Officials have detected the more contagious mutant strain of coronavirus from the United Kingdom in California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.
Newsom said the case was found in southern California during a livestream with the nation’s leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci. Newsom and Fauci mention Colorado, where the first known case of the new strain in the U.S. was detected earlier in the week. (RELATED: First Case Of New, More Contagious COVID-19 Strain From UK Detected In US)
While Newsom provided no other details about the case in California, the infected individual in Colorado is a male in his 20s with no travel history, and was in isolation in Elbert County.
Fauci said he wasn’t surprised that California had reported a case of the new strain, and expects other states to do so soon, especially given the interconnectedness of travel between the U.S. and U.K.
British scientists have confirmed that the mutant strain is more contagious than previous strains, and is up to 71% more transmissible. The U.K. variant is very similar to previous strains and the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be effective against it, University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation affiliate assistant professor Vin Gupta told CNBC.
Fauci said in the live stream that the new strain doesn’t appear to increase virulence, or “the ability to make you sick, or kill you.”
“It doesn’t seem to make it more strong in that regard. In addition, it doesn’t seem to evade the protection from the antibodies that are produced by vaccines.”