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New coronavirus strain reaches the U.S.

Just as we started seeing a way out of the coronavirus pandemic, as COVID-19 vaccines have...
Just as we started seeing a way out of the coronavirus pandemic, as COVID-19 vaccines have started arriving, a new strain of the virus appears to be circulating.(WBRC)
Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 9:39 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new COVID-19 variant has reached the United States. The new strain first detected in the United Kingdom, was found Tuesday in Denver, Colorado and then again today in southern California.

“It’s very early at least in the United States to make any comment about it being any different than what we know,” said Dr. Chris Trevino, a doctor at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge.

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The Louisiana Department of Health put out a statement saying, “we’ve not had any reports of a new strain of COVID here in Louisiana. Given that this is a new development, we are still learning what this means for our efforts against COVID. We are monitoring this and will alter those efforts if needed here in the state.” Like most health experts, Dr. Chris Trevino says the information he has on the new strain is slim but he says when it comes to viruses it’s not unusual to see them mutate overtime.

“I would say the vast majority of the mutations occur, don’t make the virus worse. In fact, I would argue that most mutations lessen the virus,” said Dr. Trevino.

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California’s governor Gavin Newsom did not provide details about the patient discovered in his state. But the patient in Colorado did not travel over the past several months, raising the question of whether or not the new strain is in other states as well.

“I think this variant has been here for a while, you only find what you search for and we’re only really looking for it now,” said Dr. Johnathan Reiner with George Washington University.

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Another big question, are new vaccines effective against this new strain? And some medical experts believe that the answer to that question is yes.

“Fortunately, at least based on the evidence that we have right now, it does not appear to cause more severe disease and also, at least from preliminary looks, the vaccines should be effective against this variant too,” said Dr. Paul Sax, the Director of Infectious Diseases, Birmingham and Women’s Hospital.

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“I believe that if we do the kind of vaccines through April, May, June, and July that by the time we get to the early fall we will have enough good heard immunity to really get back to some strong semblance of normality,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci the Director of National Infectious Diseases.

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