A variant of COVID-19 that first emerged in Colombia is now spreading in the US, health experts say.
The Colombian variant, a k a B.1.621, is currently responsible for around 10 percent of cases that were genetically sequenced last week at the University of Miami’s pathology lab in Florida, news station WPLG reported.
“In the last week, 10 percent of our patients had the Colombian variant. Why? Because of the travel between Colombia and Miami,” said Jackson Memorial Health CEO Carlos Migoya to the news station.
The World Health Organization has designated the variant as one that requires “further monitoring.”
It’s unclear if the variant is more transmissible or causes more serious cases than the original strain of the coronavirus.
Jeff Zients, the Biden administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, said last week that one in five cases over the past two weeks in the US has been in Florida.
“For the second week in a row, one in five of all cases [is] occurring in Florida alone — and within communities, these cases are primarily among unvaccinated people,” Zients said.