At least 167 cases of Mu variant detected in Los Angeles County

Mu Variant
COVID-19 positive blood sample tube positive with Mu variant of COVID-19 coronavirus. Photo credit Getty Images

The Mu variant, the latest variation of coronavirus to pose a threat to the public, is now being detected in several states, including California.

Los Angeles County Health officials said over the summer they saw at least 167 cases of the variant, primarily in July, according to the L.A. Times. While early indications suggest the variant could be resistant to vaccines, UC Irvine Epidemiologist Andrew Noymer said the variant is not at the top of his list of concerns.

“The Mu variant is yet another variant. I’m still mostly worried about Delta. We’ve seen other variants come and go. Delta’s the one I’m most worried about right now,” Noymer said.

The variant is one of five designated as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization, and was first detected around January of this year in Colombia.

White House health officials are monitoring Mu, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor said it’s rarely seen in the United States and is in no way set to replace Delta as the leading variant in the country.

“This variant has a constellation of mutations that suggests that it would evade antibodies, but there isn’t a lot of clinical data to suggest that,” he said. “Remember, even if you have variants that do diminish the efficacy of vaccines, the vaccines are still effective.”

More than 175 million Americans had been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 2, health experts said in a press update. The same day, health experts in L.A. County reported a little more than 5.7 million fully vaccinated residents.

Going into Labor Day weekend, the new COVID-19 infection rate was down 16 percent in L.A. County. The department of public health warned that the rate could go up if social distancing and masking guidelines weren’t followed over the holiday.

And while the number of vaccinations nationally reflected an increase of more than 10 million people from the previous month, experts  said if the numbers don’t continue to go up, it could be a long road to get “back to normal” in the U.S.

“Remember, COVID-19 is not going anywhere. Our goal has really been to make it more like other respiratory viruses we deal with year in and year out,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said in an interview with KNX.

“Eventually, we will get there in the United States, but the issue is that it’s taking so long because so many people are basically shunning the best tool to put this pandemic behind us:  the vaccine.”

Live On-Air
Ask Your Smart Speaker to Play K N X News
KNX News 97.1 FM
Listen Now
Now Playing
Now Playing
Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images