“It’s definitely more infectious, and we may not be protected from it.”
Dr. Martha Whyte of the Louisiana Department of Public Health is speaking of the Lambda variant of COVID-19, another evolution of the coronavirus whose Delta variant is already ravaging much of the south.
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Louisiana ranks second in both COVID cases per capita and COVID hospitalizations per capita and first in COVID deaths per capita as of Tuesday, according to the New York Times COVID tracker map, and that’s with the Pelican State still largely dealing with Delta, a very contagious strain that, nonetheless, has its more serious effects mostly contained by the current COVID vaccines available.
That may not be the case with Lambda, which has already taken over as the dominant strain of the virus in many parts of South America and has been already detected in 44 states here in the U.S.
Studies done in New York and Japan have already found Lambda to be more resistant to antibodies generated by the COVID vaccines than older strains were, though those studies have not yet been through the peer-review process.
The World Health Organization says the first instance of Lambda on record was in Peru in 2020. It has been responsible for 80% of all Peruvian COVID cases in the last five months.