HOUSTON – As more and more Americans are getting vaccinated, there is another twist to the coronavirus situation in Harris County — the California variant showed up.

“Just on the face of it, it looks a little alarming,” exclaimed infectious disease doctor, Linda Yancey.

She said the California variant was deadlier than other variants in a small study.

“So it’s not the time to panic yet, the jury is still out we are going to have to look at this in a larger number of patients to see if it’s as alarming as it appears at first blush,” Yancey said.

Harris County Public Health confirmed three cases of the California variant within Harris county. Officials said those three Harris County residents are no longer in isolation or contagious.

Dr. Pei-Yong Shi, with the University of Texas Medical Branch, said the California variant has three mutations on the spike protein, which may be the reason its more contagious.

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“So it does something much more efficiently, I would say than the previous one so it can become dominant, so that is clearly the smoking gun,” Shi said.

Vaccine manufacturers are running the genetic code of this variant to see if their vaccines protect against it, according to Yancey.

“We are in a race, the vaccines versus the variants and that’s why we are doing this type of surveillance to know what’s out there,” Yancey said.

Dr. Yancey said to fight the spread of ‘any variant’ people need to get vaccinated.

“If we can keep our numbers as low as possible, it doesn’t give the virus a chance to form these mutations … I don’t care what the governor says please, please wear your masks socially distance it’s too soon to stop, the race isn’t over yet,” said Yancey.

Harris County Public Health officials stated they are investigating the three California variant cases and are conducting contact tracing.

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