The COVID-19 virus is rapidly mutating and diversifying

In England there is a new fast-spreading strain of COVID-19:

Boris Johnson calls crisis meeting over new Covid strain

Professor Sir Mark Walport – a member of the government’s scientific advisory group for emergencies (Sage) – said there was a real possibility that the strain could have a “transmission advantage”. “What happens with viruses is they do naturally mutate all the time and the ones that are likely to do well are the ones that increase transmission,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight. “We know that this is a new variant, it has been seen in other countries but it seems to be quite widespread which suggests that it has got a transmission advantage. Scientists are working extremely hard to work out what is going on. But it does definitely seem possible that this transmits more easily. It will make the social-distancing even more critical.”

South Africa is also affected:

South Africa’s second coronavirus wave is fueled by a new strain, teen ‘rage festivals’

in a beach town last week, more than 3,000 17- and 18-year-olds went ahead with a huge, week-long graduation party, and more than 1,000 of them have since tested positive for the coronavirus. Hundreds more refused to get tested or gave wrong numbers to contact tracers. Then, on Friday evening, South Africa’s health minister announced that researchers had discovered a new strain — similar to one found in Britain this week — that he said seemed to affect young people more than strains that had previously been circulating.

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