This Fourth of July Californians didn’t gather en masse to watch fireworks. Cities around the state cancelled large events, from festivals to fireworks displays.
What officials couldn’t stop, however were gatherings of families and friends and travel over the weekend to mountain lakes and other getaways.
The Fourth of July holiday helped the coronavirus continue its spread. And while tourist-dependent communities feared that out-of-towners would spread the virus, contact tracing is instead showing that much of the disease’s transmission has occurred at home or at small get-togethers, among people who already know each other.
Gov. Gavin Newsom took preventative measures such as re-closing bars and mandating face coverings in public, but communities like Lake Tahoe hosted many travelers who walked the line between social distancing and getting out of the house.
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A team of researchers are worried about a new strain of COVID-19 that has been running rampant in California.
Scientists have been testing and have seen an increase in the number of cases involving a new variant known as B.1.427/B.1.429.
The number of new cases caused by the mutated strain are doubling every 18 days, and could be responsible for up to 90% of the cases in California. The variant has spread from California and has been identified in 45 states, Mexico and Australia.
Experts are worried the new strain appears to be more infectious, and may result in an "increased severity of disease." The new strain is 40% more effective at infecting people, and those infected had a viral load two times larger than those who had other strains of the virus.
"The devil is already here," said Dr. Charles Chiu, an infectious diseases researcher and physician at UCSF. "I wish it were different. But the science is the science."
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