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Home / US / Los Angeles County investigates whether new COVID strain is spreading locally

Los Angeles County investigates whether new COVID strain is spreading locally



Scientists in Los Angeles County have begun testing coronavirus samples from local patients to determine whether there are new, more contagious, and spreading strains in the UK. Some officials believe this may be caused by a large number of infections. .

Officials said the variant is worrying because it makes it easier for the virus to spread from one person to another. But once a person is infected with this virus, this variant does not seem to make the person more likely to die.

Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said that public health laboratories have begun genetic sequencing to test virus samples collected in Los Angeles County, but the process will take about a week.

In Los Angeles County and other parts of California, COVID-1

9 has become uncontrollable, hospitals are overwhelmed, and more people are killed every day.On Thursday, Los Angeles County saw COVID-19 death toll highest Within a day: 140.

Since Thanksgiving, the spread has been so alarming, when many families gathered together regardless of public health guidelines, so that some people wondered whether the situation regarding COVID has changed. Officials believe that holiday gatherings have exacerbated this peak, but they also worry about other factors, including people going out shopping.

In an interview with The Times, Ferrer said: “When I talked to the State Department of Public Health, they said they had been looking for it, but didn’t expect that they had seen it.” “But, you know, you have to know to What to look for. So I think everyone who sees this surge at this point obviously wants to see, “Do we have this particular change? “”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the new variant of the coronavirus may be a factor in the recent explosion of coronavirus cases, as well as other factors, including pandemic fatigue, holiday parties and winter weather. Conducive to spread.

“This happened devastatingly quickly. Everyone I talked to said that this acceleration exceeded any model and expectations, so people would say “What happened? “And I have to think this is partly because of the pressure there,” Gasetti said in an interview with The Times on Wednesday.

A memo issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Christmas Eve requires laboratories to check the latest data on positive coronavirus tests to look for specific genetic testing patterns and any abnormal molecular patterns.

“Scientists are working hard to learn more about this variant to better understand how easy it is to spread and whether the currently authorized vaccine can protect people from it. Currently, there is no evidence that this variant will Cause more serious illness or increase the risk of death, or are not as effective as available vaccines.”

Scientists have identified this new, more contagious strain of coronavirus found in Europe and South Africa. This discovery prompted government officials to implement lockdown measures throughout most of England and led many countries around the world to announce Flights departing from the UK are prohibited.

The United States has not lifted the ban, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that airline passengers from the United Kingdom need to undergo a negative coronavirus test before flying.

The discovery of the new strain also prompted the British government to take lock-in measures, including travel restrictions and the closure of bars, stadiums, theaters and hair salons, in response to the discovery that genetic changes in the new strain may “escalate” the virus. The spread rate has increased by 70%. “

Governor Gavin Newsom (Gavin Newsom) said Monday that California is regularly testing thousands of virus samples to identify any mutations in the viral genome sequencing. “We haven’t found anything related to the new strain,” Newsom said.

California Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said on Monday that the newly-discovered strains circulating in the UK are inherently “more viscous than the COVID virus we have seen so far.”

“For COVID to enter human cells, it needs to bind to receptors, which is the front door of human cells,” Gali said. “Moreover, compared to the current COVID virus that we currently have mainly in California and the United States, this new mutant COVID virus appears to be tighter, easier to bind and enter human cells more easily.”

Gary said that this mutant strain makes people “more susceptible to infection than the current strain.”

The new strain did not show stronger virulence than the conventional strain, which means that people do not necessarily get sick. “However, the fact that it seems to be more susceptible to infection is our concern,” Gali said.

If this more contagious virus does gain a foothold in California, it is unclear how it will affect the state’s efforts to contain the current version of the virus. “The last thing we need to do is to allow a new strain of COVID to emerge and spread across the state faster or easier,” Ghaly said.

Theoretically, the biggest concern with this new variant is that it may have genetic changes that could counteract vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna-both of which have already been launched in the United States-and the other three that follow.

However, a report by British researchers last week found that “there is no evidence that this variant will reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.” More research is still needed. The chief infectious disease expert of the US government, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told ABC News on Tuesday that he would not be surprised if the strain that caused great concern for the British had reached the United States.

Fauci said: “When you have such a huge spread in a place like the UK… you really need to assume that it is already here, and of course it is not the main pressure, but if it is already here, I would not be surprised.” .

The Times writer Melissa Healy (Melissa Healy) contributed to this report.

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