A newer and even more deadly strain of the Novel Coronavirus has been detected by researchers in Southeast Asia and may speed the spread. The new strain is said to be “ten times more” infectious and may have a higher possibility of transmission.
We still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen,” Philippines’ Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing on Monday. The strain, which was detected earlier in other parts of the world, is called D614G and was found in a Malaysian cluster of 45 cases that started from someone who returned from India and breached his 14-day home quarantine. While Malaysia has largely managed to prevent a resurgence of the virus seen elsewhere in the world, the number of new cases found in the country has been picking up.
New outbreaks in the United States are being recorded in rural areas of Maine and in prisons in Oregon. Outbreaks have also emerged at colleges and universities. Oklahoma State University said Sunday that at least 23 sorority members in an off-campus house tested positive for the virus. And less than a week after starting classes, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced its fourth cluster of coronavirus.
“Covid is now the No. 3 cause of death in the US — ahead of accidents, injuries, lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many, many other causes,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The rate of deaths from Covid-19 is also much greater in the US than in many other countries,” Frieden said. “Last week, Americans were eight times more likely to get killed by Covid than were Europeans,” he said.