The mutation is up to 70 percent contagious, but it does not appear to be more deadly.
COVID-19 is spiraling out of control in Los Angeles County and other parts of California despite the lockdown and other efforts to stop the spread, with the state 2 million cases surpassed on Christmas Eve.
Officials blamed the increase on gatherings during holidays and travel, but also cited more mundane activities such as shopping as possible reasons for the continued spread.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was among those questioning whether a new variant of the virus could be behind the huge numbers.
“It happened devastatingly quickly. Everyone I spoke to said this acceleration outweighed any model and expectation, so people say, ‘What collapsed? “I must think it was part of the pressure that was there,” said Garcetti. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that a public health lab has begun gene sequencing to test virus samples collected there, but that it will take about a week to get the results.
This article first appeared in the New York Post.