What to know about California variants


[Read the full story about the California variant.]

My colleague Karl Zimmer has written more about it this month. So I asked him where things are and what he is looking forward to.

Here is our conversation:

When you first wrote about the California version – or CAL.20C, as researchers are saying – scientists found it in half of the samples collected in La County, up from 36 percent the previous month. Where do things stand now?

It is barely more than a week since this version was discovered, so scientists are still there to identify it and find out how it is doing. It will take a few more weeks for things to come into focus.

What did scientists learn from that growth?

It is possible that the variant is increasing because it is the correct biology to spread faster than other organisms. It is still possible that it is becoming more common just because of chance. But it has mutations that are known to help the virus get into cells and avoid antibodies, so we have to take it very seriously.

How does the California version fit with other types of search around the world? (Is it more annoying? Less annoying?)

We do not yet know enough about the version to make those comparisons. It may be less contagious or more. This could have made the vaccines less effective or had no effect.

These variants are seen spreading everywhere – in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, California and elsewhere. We are witnessing a planet-wide evolutionary event.

In your reporting on the California edition, what was the most surprising or shocking thing you learned?

The University of California has a good system for monitoring variants, thanks to some excellent laboratories at the University of California and strong collaboration with public health departments. And yet this version was shown in California in July and closed in November, but it did not go unnoticed until late December.

There will be more versions to fight with, and we need a better nationwide system to stay ahead of them.

Are you paying attention to go further, both differ more widely with the California version?

I am starting a spreadsheet to keep track of all variants.

In California, I want to find out how mutations of this version change it, if at all, from its ancestors. I suspect that the scientists there are getting sick from my email, in which I constantly ask for new results.

Read more:

  • Vaccine manufacturers are updating their plans To address variants. But this does not mean that current vaccines are ineffective. [The New York Times]

  • From smallpox to H1N1, Here’s how the five previous vaccine rollouts occurred. [The New York Times]

  • Yes, you may want to consider double masking. Here are more things you can do about that Just to avoid more contagious variants. [The New York Times]

  • State officials expand on the data They decided that it was safe to give strict orders to stay in the house. [The Associated Press]

If you miss it, the statewide stay order was halted on Monday. But many counties were eager to allow businesses to reopen. [The New York Times]


  • An atmospheric river brings more severe rain to the bay areaRaising concerns about flash flooding and mudslides in water areas, power shortages and evacuation orders. The storm also caused snow to fall on the Sierra. [The Mercury News]

  • Could see parts of the Sierra More than eight feet of snow by Friday. [NBC Bay Area]

Read more about atmospheric rivers. [The New York Times]

  • Five days later a woman posted on Instagram A charge that Burger Records Promoted a culture of sexual predation on teen fans, the indie label folded. But this was not the end of the story. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • a Member of the Proud Boys who was elected to the Sacramento County Republican Party Central Committee Asked to resign, the party initially defended its right to run. [The Sacramento Bee]

If you missed it, read more about the role of the Proud Boys, a violent far-flung group in the Capital Riot. [The New York Times]

  • In a long battle, San Francisco’s school board voted to remove 44 schools’ names That honored people with connections to slavery, oppression, and racism. Critics said the process was driven and driven by emotion rather than research. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Jungle Cruise at Disneyland is getting updates, After years of criticism that the depiction of indigenous people is racist. The ride is one of the remaining original attractions in the park, which opened in 1955. [The Orange County Register]

  • Book review is 125 years old. As part of the celebration, here are reviews from 25 famous authors from other books. [The New York Times]

  • “This epidemic has opened our eyes to how things need to move forward, forever.” Restaurants across the country have closed. But it’s also a time for enterprising chefs to start small pop-ups, Turning Instagram into the world’s largest takeout menu. [The New York Times]


California Today airs at 6:30 pm Pacific Time of the week. Tell us what you want to see: CAtod[email protected]. Did you forward this email? Sign up for California Today here And Read every version online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported across the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but he always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.

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