(The Center Square) - California has identified a second U.S. case of the more highly contagious coronavirus strain originally found in the U.K.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that that strain was found in a person in southern California without elaborating further. But San Diego health officials later confirmed that variant was found in a 30-year-old man there.
Earlier this week, Colorado officials announced that the first U.S. case of the variant was positively identified in a young man who serves in the Colorado National Guard.
"I don't think that Californians should feel that this is something odd. This is something that's expected," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a conversation with Newsom Wednesday.
The COVID variant is "predicted to potentially be more rapidly transmissible than other circulating strains," according to the CDC, but there's no evidence it leads to more severe illness. Last week, the U.S. instituted travel restrictions requiring any passengers flying from the U.K., where the first variant case was detected, to receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering the country, following reports of the variant's spread overseas.
"What's really important is that detecting this lineage here [in San Diego] doesn't really change what we need to do, other than we need to do it better," Kristian Andersen Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research in San Diego, said. "And the question we typically get around this are that: Is it really transmitting better? In the U.K., it is. We know that it's because of the properties of this particular lineage. We should expect that the same is going to be true here in San Diego, but we don't yet know whether that's really going to be the case."