Los Angeles scientists are trying to find out whether a rapidly spreading strain of coronovirus is behind a similar increase in California due to a surge in cases in the United Kingdom.
Mutations are up to 70 percent more infectious, but do not appear to be any more lethal.
COVID-19 is out of control in Los Angeles County and other parts of California, despite lockdowns and other attempts to spread, the state has passed 2 million cases on Christmas Eve.
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Authorities blame the increase on holiday celebrations and travel, but are pointing to more mundane activities for shopping such as possible reasons for continued proliferation.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is among those thinking that the new version of the virus may be far behind.
“It happened disastrously quickly. I said that everyone had this acceleration beyond any model and any expectation, so people say ‘what broke?” And I think it was partly the tension out there, “Garcetti said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
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LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said a public health laboratory is starting gene sequencing to test the virus samples collected there, but it will take about a week to get the results.
This article first appeared in the New York Post.