Category Archives: Case Update

Case Update: April 13th, 2021; ADE and What You Should Do if there’s a SARS-3.

This is a case update. I’ll also talk briefly about ADE and it’s impact on the current pandemic and the potential impact on the next SARS virus, if one ever happens.

Cases in the US continue to rise slightly. Outbreaks continue in Michigan, with some new cases also in the Greater New York Metro area and the Texas panhandle. Why is Michigan having such a hard time? Frankly, I’m a little mystified, especially since Michigan has been in strict lock-down through much of the pandemic. It’s now well known that the viral load upon infection has a large impact on the severity of COVID symptoms. Those who get a low viral load upon exposure have lower symptoms. I will speculate and say that perhaps some states with very strict lock-downs caused people to interact in ways that encouraged larger viral loads upon infection, like being with groups of people in private homes. Again, I’m just speculating. This may also explain the large and sustained number of cases in LA county this Fall and Winter.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, April 13th, 2021

California and San Diego County both have come to an equilibrium, with approximately 3000 and 200 new cases a day respectively. Neither appears to have experienced an Easter related bump in cases. The new lower caseload in the US is likely related to vaccination and natural immunity, and is likely to become lower still as we head into Spring and Summer.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are reported by San Diego County. Because our new active case numbers are getting low, I’ve switched to a logarithmic view. This emphasizes small values and makes them easier to see. Notice that the case number on the left now go up 10 fold with each higher line on the graph.

Internationally, the caseload continues to increase, almost to Winter peak numbers.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.

ADE and the next SARS virus: I wanted to explain a little more about my continued concerns about ADE. As the pandemic progresses and we have numerous variants circulating around the world and the US, ADE does not appear to have had an impact on the current situation. This is certainly good news. If it did have an impact, we would be seeing additional deaths from the new variants, which we do not.

My continued concern comes because ADE impacts our ability to fight the NEXT virus. SARS viruses (SARS, MERS, SARS-2) have the ability to easily infect the immune systems of those previously infected with closely related but different strain of the virus. If a future strain of SARS comes out, let’s call it SARS-3 for now, ADE may become a big deal. I stress that this is only theoretical at this point. SARS was moderately infectious, but also very pathogenic, giving all known patients severe symptoms and killing 10%. It was actually less dangerous globally, since outbreaks tended to be detected early and quickly snuffed out. SARS-2 is highly infectious, but much less pathogenic. It’s greater global impact came from it’s very high infectiousness and very long incubation time, being passed even from pre-symptomatic patients. The tendency of all viruses is to become more infectious and less pathogenic over time, a pattern followed by SARS and SARS-2. If we have a SARS-3 someday, it will likely be even more infectious than SARS-2, but less pathogenic. On the other hand, MERS is more pathogenic than SARS, so this pattern doesn’t always follow. The next time another SARS coronavirus breaks out, we will need to be very careful initially until we understand the parameters of the new virus.

So what do you do if you had COVID or had a COVID vaccine if a SARS-3 comes out? If that happens, vaccine production will likely be much faster than this time. Be very careful with the virus initially, and get the new vaccine as soon as it is available to you, because you may be at greater risk for severe symptoms. I know some of this is confusing and counter-intuitive! Feel free to ask questions below!

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

Case Update, April 6, 2021; More on Vaccines, Auto-Immune Disease.

This is a case update. I’ll also add something to last week’s discussion of the South Africa variant and vaccines, and also talk briefly about autoimmune disease.

Last week, cases in the US looked like they were rising, but this week, it’s more ambiguous. New cases in the US are the same or maybe even a little lower than last week, so I can’t point to a clear trend right now. A spike in new cases persists in the Eastern Michigan at the moment, as well as higher new cases in several other Eastern states.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, April 5th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.

New confirmed cases are also slightly up from last week in California and San Diego County. If we have a bump in cases because of Easter, it will start to show up on Wednesday or Thursday.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are reported by San Diego County. Because our new active case numbers are getting low, I’ve switched to a logarithmic view. This emphasizes small values and makes them easier to see. Notice that the case number on the left now go up 10 fold with each higher line on the graph.

Update, Vaccines and the SA Variant: Last week I discussed the effectiveness of several vaccines on the South Africa variant (B.1.351). I said that the Astra-Zeneca vaccine works poorly against the vaccine and that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine were still poorly understood. New data from a small study Pfizer released in early April suggests that their vaccine is effective against the SA variant, though the study is too small to say how much. The Moderna vaccine is not particularly effective against the SA variant, but they are testing a booster against the SA variant right now. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is 75% effective in the US, and 57% effective in South African patients (as reported by J&J).

Auto-Immune Disease and COVID: It appears that those with auto-immune diseases, like me (celiac disease), may suffer more severe symptoms from COVID. There is some suggestion that this may be because of consistent use of NSAID medications to counteract inflammation. Most doctors will suggest remaining on anti-inflammatories unless COVID symptoms appear. Check with your doctor before changing any medications. I am continuing to take my NSAID medications. By the way, Ibuprofen (Advil) is an NSAID, so if you’re taking an NSAID regularly, take Tylenol instead of Advil for routine pain so as to not double up on NSAIDs.

Unfortunately, there aren’t really studies yet to determine if auto-immune sufferers are at greater risk from getting the vaccine. In my non-expert but informed opinion, the risk of SARS-2 infection for auto-immune sufferers is likely higher than the risk of a reaction from the vaccine. Since the COVID vaccines only present the Spike protein to the immune system, they’re likely no more risky than any other vaccination. If you tolerate other vaccinations well, you’ll likely tolerate this one too. My recommendation would be for auto-immune sufferers to get the vaccine. Of course, check with your doctor first. If you choose to get the vaccine, I strongly suggest getting it at a medical facility that can monitor you rather than in a mass vaccination center.

Don’t fear, but be smart,
Erik

PS. FB doesn’t like it when I discuss vaccines! They often add a note about vaccines when I discuss it, referencing info from the WHO. While comments FB has added recently are accurate, I generally don’t regard the WHO as a good source of information about COVID, since they are overly influenced by certain political entities and have occasionally been very wrong. The CDC is better, but it often very slow to present new information.

Case Update, March 29th, 2021; Dr. Shane Crotty on Vaccines and Variants

This is a COVID new case update.  I’ll also discuss new cases world wide, and discuss a new video from immunologist Shane Crotty with lots of important information on vaccines and variants.

In the US, we’re starting to see an increase in new case numbers in several states, Michigan and New York in particular.  This may be because of the relaxing of requirements by many municipalities, but may also be because of some of the new variants arriving in the US.  More on the new variants below. 

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, March 29th, 2021
Endcoronavirus US States, March 29th, 2021

New case numbers have stabilized in California and San Diego County with around 2000 new cases a day in California and 300 in San Diego. We have yet to see a clear uptick in cases in those 2 regions, but we may see this soon.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers have been calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered. Recently, however, this would produce an active case number that is too low to make sense in comparison to San Diego. This graph estimates 17 to days to recover in January, but gradually moves to 22 days for mid-March. I’ve lost confidence that I can make an Active Case plot that is accurate, so this will probably be the last time I post this for California. Let me know if you think it’s still useful.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are reported by San Diego County. Because our new active case numbers are getting low, I’ve switched to a logarithmic view. This emphasizes small values and makes them easier to see. Notice that the case number on the left now go up 10 fold with each higher line on the graph.

Internationally, the US and UK are doing better than average at the moment, but many countries scattered all over the world, with concentrations in Eastern Europe and South America, are seeing new surges in cases. The US and UK are both vaccinating heavily right now, with vaccine rollouts moving slowly in continental Europe, so vaccination may play heavily in this pattern.  Also several new variants of the SARS-2 virus are more infectious than the original strain and likely factor in these new surges.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus Countries, March 29th, 2021

Important new video with Dr. Shane Crotty:  MedCram has posted a new video interview with Dr. Shane Crotty, an immunologist in San Diego. His work looks into immune system responses to vaccination as well as native infection.  He has several very interesting points to make about SARS-2 immunity and vaccines. First, he says that those infected with SARS-2 do have significant lasting immunity for many months, although it does go down a bit over time.  Different people can respond very differently, however, and reinfection is possible in some.

Regarding vaccines, he said that those who have been infected have a good but not great immune response, but it is significantly boosted by a single vaccine dose, gaining an immune response higher than those vaccinated alone. So there is a good reason to be vaccinated if you have already been infected.  Of course, if you’ve been infected, you may choose to wait until at-risk people have been vaccinated before you get a vaccine booster.

As for variants, he says there are 2 broad categories of variants, those similar to the UK variant (now commonly called B.1.1.7), and those similar to the South Africa variant (B.1.351).  Both new strains are more infectious than the original Wuhan strain.  The big difference between them is that those who have had SAR-2 are immunized against the UK strain, but not the South Africa strain.  Also, the Astra-Zeneca vaccine does not protect well against the South African strain, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to be less effective as well.  The good news is, the Johnson and Johnson and Novavax vaccines do appear to protect against the South Africa strain. This suggests that although the South Africa strain is different, it isn’t so radically different that we have nothing to fight it with. 

_____________________________
Update, April 6th
A new small study from Pfizer suggests that their vaccine does work on the South Africa variant. The patient number in this trial is small, so they still don’t know exactly how effective it is.
_____________________________

Soberingly, the South Africa strain has reached the US, so if we see a surge in the next few weeks, this strain may be at least partially responsible.

Impact on ADE?  If you’ve read my posts on ADE, then you know that the danger from ADE may come when a different strain arises.  With the South Africa strain arriving in the US, we may be able to see if ADE will have an impact with SARS-2 in the next few weeks and months.  So far, new death numbers have come down with Wave 3, and there is no apparent impact from ADE on case severity.  I will certainly be watching to see if this changes.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.

Don’t fear, but be smart,
Erik

Case Update: March 24th, 2021

This is a COVID case update. New confirmed case numbers continue to decrease, although slowly. The endcoronavirus county level trend map shows a few small outbreaks in Michigan, but improvement everywhere else.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, March 23rd, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers have been calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered. Recently, however, this would produce an active case number that is too low to make sense in comparison to San Diego. This graph estimates 17 to days to recover in January, but gradually moves to 22 days for mid-March. Is this still useful information?
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are reported by San Diego County. Because our new active case numbers are getting low, I’ve switched to a logarithmic view. This emphasizes small values and makes them easier to see. Notice that the case number on the left now go up 10 fold with each higher line on the graph.

I’m going to get into the statistical weeds a little bit right now. Read on if you’re interested in that. I often post a graph of new cases along with active cases for California and San Diego County. San Diego actually publishes numbers of recovered patients, but California does not. My estimates for California have been based on the San Diego recovered numbers. San Diego’s recovered numbers have generally matched the new case numbers for 17 days previous, so I’ve been doing the same for California. Now, for whatever reason, San Diego’s recovered numbers have been matching new numbers for 22 days previous, which makes a big difference in “Active Confirmed Cases”. So now I’ve been making a bunch of modifications to my estimates for California numbers, and I’m not sure I feel comfortable showing you such adjusted numbers. So if you have an opinion, let me know in the comments if you want to continue seeing “Active Cases” for California, despite all the guesswork.

Don’t fear, but be smart,
Erik

Case Update: March 10th, 2021

This is a brief case update. New confirmed case numbers are continuing to drop for the US, California, and San Diego County. After a pause, numbers for the US are improving again. For all three regions, numbers are at or near the pre-wave 3 levels, but these are still higher than wave 1, so we still need significant improvement. Notice that the active cases for California are now below the trough between waves 2 and 3.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, March 10th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered. Because our new active case numbers are getting low, I’ve switched to a logarithmic view. This emphasizes small values and makes them easier to see. Notice that the case number on the left now go up 10 fold with each higher line on the graph.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered. Because our new active case numbers are getting low, I’ve switched to a logarithmic view. This emphasizes small values and makes them easier to see. Notice that the case number on the left now go up 10 fold with each higher line on the graph.

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

Case Update, March 3rd, 2021; When will the Pandemic be Over, New Variants and Vaccines

This is a case update.  I’ll also talk about when the pandemic may be considered “over”, and briefly discuss the new SARS-2 variants.

For the US, the downward trend in new cases has paused.  New cases have been steady for the past 2 weeks.  The daily new cases continue to be higher than the first wave, and almost as high as for the second wave this summer.  The new case map from endcoronavirus shows recovery, but this particular map only shows changing trends.  The small number of counties in red may be misleading, because many of these counties are rural, so represent very few actual cases.  If you look at the top 10 counties for new cases in the country, there is still a significant number of new cases in several counties.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, March 3rd, 2021
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, March 3rd, 2021

We continue to see a downward trend in California and San Diego County. However, the new case numbers remain higher than they were during the 1st wave.  

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.

When will this be over?  The 3rd wave this Fall and Winter is winding to a close, which makes many speculate on when the pandemic will be over.  I’m going to speculate on this, and what criteria we may use to determine this, but remember that I am not a physician or epidemiologist.  This is my informed but not expert opinion.  I am a molecular biologist specializing in infectious disease testing.

The most significant event happening right now that will impact the progress of the pandemic is the ongoing vaccination program going on in the US. We are currently into Phase 1B, vaccination of all individuals over 65. If you are over 65, I encourage you to consider vaccination.  Check in with your local health department to find out how you can be vaccinated.  You know I have some concerns about the ADE issue, but on balance, those over 65 will almost certainly benefit from the vaccination despite these concerns. As more vulnerable people are vaccinated, we will continue to see a drop in new cases, as well as a further drop in severe symptoms and mortality. Soon, we will enter Phase 1C, in which anyone over 16 with COVID risk factors will be able to receive the vaccine. 

Once everyone who is vulnerable has been vaccinated, this may rightfully be considered the “end” of the pandemic in the minds of many.  We should also pay attention to the number of COVID deaths. In order for the pandemic to be considered truly over, the number of deaths must be very low as well. I’m not willing to speculate yet on exactly what “very low” means.  Keep in mind also that many other countries do not yet have the vaccine, so vaccination in the US alone will not end a global pandemic!  Even after the epidemic in the US is over, travel to and from other countries may still be restricted.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.

Variants: We have seen several SARS-2 variants arise over the last few months.  Most of these variants have made the virus more infectious but not more pathogenic.  This is because they alter the Spike protein, the viral protein that is used to infect our cells.  This is also the protein that the immune system, and the vaccines, target to neutralize the virus.  However, the vaccines currently in use appear to still work on most variants.  The exception to this is the South African variant (501.V2) which some suggest may evade the current vaccines.  Concerns about this are strong enough that Moderna is currently working on a vaccine against 501.V2.  This variant is already present in many countries, including the US.

The Second Shot: I haven’t been vaccinated yet, but I’ve heard several accounts of people feeling significant flu like symptoms after their second COVID vaccination. It’s actually not unusual to have flu like symptoms after a vaccination. Flu like symptoms are your body’s normal response to an invasion and many of the symptoms we experience are designed to help you fight an infection. That’s why so many infectious diseases produce “flu-like symptoms”. So unless your symptoms are severe, or your fever is over 102°, you don’t need to get medical attention. If you are prone to allergic reactions after a vaccine, inform your healthcare provider before you get one.

So we have lots of good news, but we need to continue to be diligent!

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

Case Update, February 24th, 2021

This is a brief case update. Case numbers continue to drop in the US, California, and San Diego County. There was a small outbreak in Iowa this week. Numbers are low enough generally right now that we can see outbreaks in particular places!

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, February 24th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.

For those of you in the testing field, reported SARS-2 tests dropped below 1 million tests yesterday.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. This graph shows reported tests. Laboratories are currently required to report both to the ordering physicians and also report positives (without identifying information) to the CDC as well as county and state public health. Some labs have been late reporting to public health, which is why you see some days which have either a very high or very low number of tests.

Don’t fear, but be smart,
Erik

Case Update: February 18, 2021

Here’s a short COVID update. New confirmed cases numbers continue to drop for the US, California, and San Diego County. Endcoronavirus show the central part of the country mostly under control, with just a few counties with increasing case numbers. And as a bonus, we didn’t have a Superbowl related bump in cases! Wave 3 is almost over! But we still have significant cases, so continue to be diligent!

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, February 18th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.

On a short non-scientific note, support local businesses whenever possible! Lots of people, including me, have been shopping at the big boxes instead of small businesses which are really hurting, so shop at small businesses as your local regulations allow!

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

Case Update: February 10th, 2021

This is a case update. New case numbers continue to plummet for the US, California, and San Diego County. New case numbers are now similar to those in early November. Obviously, the number are still not zero, so we still have work to do, but we have good news. As an interesting side note, the endcoronavirus map of new cases reveals a little pocket of new cases spreading out from Austin, Texas! Other parts of the country are generally improving, and the central part of the country is doing particularly well.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, February 10th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. This graph shows reported tests. Laboratories are currently required to report both to the ordering physicians and also report positives (without identifying information) to the CDC as well as county and state public health. Some labs have been late reporting to public health, which is why you see some days which have either a very high or very low number of tests.

Of course, we just had the Superbowl, which I count as an American cultural holiday. We may have had some new infections associated with gathering in peoples homes. If so, we may start to see numbers coming up starting on Friday or Saturday. After Thanksgiving and Christmas, new cases started to increase a little less than a week afterward.

During the year, we’ve seen testing capacity come up slowly but steadily from just a few hundred a day when the CDC was trying to do all the testing themselves in March, to around 1.5 to 2 million per day in December ’20 and January ’21. Now that new cases are starting to come down, testing is just starting to head down as well. If you are a medical professional, especially in testing, you may begin to find it easier to buy pipette tips in the next month! We can only hope!

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

Case Update: February 2nd, 2021; New Variant CAL.20C

This is a case update, and I’ll also talk about a new SARS-2 Variant, CAL.20C. New confirmed cases continue to drop in the US, California, and San Diego County. New cases are now at about the same level as they were in late November or early December. This is great news of course, but there are still lots of actively infected people around, especially in Southern California. So continue to be diligent!

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, February 2nd, 2021
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, February 2nd, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.

CAL.20C: You may have heard of a new strain of SARS-2 circulating in the LA area. CAL.20C was first discovered in July, but then was undetected for many months until October. By December, it represented 25% of new cases in the LA area, and was spreading to other locations. Like most of the new variants, CAL.20C is more infectious than previous versions, but does not appear to be more pathogenic. All viruses have a tendency, over the course of years or decades, to become more infectious and less pathogenic, and SARS-2 seems to be following this pattern as well.

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik