State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says they've identified a few cases of a new California coronavirus variant in Alabama.
The CDC says the new California variant is up to 20% more contagious than the usual coronavirus. That could mean more cases in Alabama.
The CDC categorizes variants into three levels: variants of interest, concern or consequence. The new California variant is considered to be a variant of concern, just like the UK and South African variants. Even though there aren't any classified variants of consequence at this time, health experts warn it could happen.
"Our main concern with all these variants, even if they don't raise mortality or hospitalization, eventually, it can evolve into more aggressive virus," Huntsville Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ali Hassoun said.
Dr. Hassoun says the best way to fight against these variants is by vaccinating as many people as possible and taking the usual safety precautions, like masking and social distancing. That's in order to slow down the virus transmission.
Dr. Hassoun says Alabama will need to increase gene sequencing in order to identify more variants in Alabama.