The new, more easily transmitted strain of coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom late last year has been found in Los Angeles County, according to public health officials, a sign that the ongoing surge in the region will likely continue.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday:
Los Angeles County on Saturday surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases since reporting its first infection nearly a year before and also recorded its first instance of a new, more contagious variant of the virus that was initially identified in the United Kingdom.
The variant, B.1.1.7, had previously been found in California’s San Diego and San Bernardino counties, as well as 14 other U.S. states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is not believed to make people sicker or increase their risk of death but appears to spread more easily, raising fears it could hamper efforts to bring the pandemic under control if it displaces other strains and becomes dominant in the region.
Officials believe the variant has been present in L.A. County for some time and is already spreading in the community.
L.A. officials are considering more stringent lockdowns, though the county already has some of the toughest shutdown rules in the country, and the COVID-19 spread continues regardless.
The State of California as a whole continues to struggle with the coronavirus. On Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the state recorded 700 deaths in one day, the highest since the start of the pandemic nearly a year ago.
On a hopeful note, the Chronicle added: “The number of hospitalized patients also seemed to be going in the right direction, with a decrease of 276 patients to 20,722 total.”
The state’s vaccination efforts are lagging, with just over a third of doses allocated to the state actually injected thus far.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.