Two South Carolina patients are the first in the United States to be diagnosed with a mutated strain of the coronavirus, raising concerns that this more transmissible variant could become dominant here and throughout the country.
There are now a few variants of COVID-19 spreading from different parts of the world. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Thursday that the two patients in South Carolina were diagnosed with the B.1.351 variant, a strain first identified in South Africa about six weeks ago.
President Joe Biden added the African country to a travel ban earlier this week in order to mitigate the spread of the virus, but the restrictions come weeks after the South Carolina patients tested positive in early January. It was only determined this week that they tested positive for this specific new variant.
One patient is from the Lowcountry and the other is from the Pee Dee, according to DHEC, and both are now ”doing well,” according to one health department official. The agency released few other personal details, citing patient privacy, but did say the two cases are not related and neither person had a known travel history.
At a briefing, @PressSec notes that people flying to the US from South Africa (as well as all other foreign nations) need to have negative tests at least 3 days before arrival.
First US cases of South African #COVID19 variant found in SC. https://t.co/xzI0NUi2ZH
— Andy Shain (@AndyShain) January 28, 2021