California virus variant could be helping state avoid surges happening elsewhere in the U.S.

California
A nurse prepares medication as she cares for a coronavirus COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Regional Medical Center on May 21, 2020 in San Jose, California. Frontline workers are continuing to care for coronavirus COVID-19 patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Santa Clara county, where this hospital is located, has had the most deaths of any Northern California county, and the earliest known COVID-19 related deaths in the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A nurse prepares medication as she cares for a coronavirus COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at Regional Medical Center on May 21, 2020 in San Jose, California. Frontline workers are continuing to care for coronavirus COVID-19 patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Santa Clara county, where this hospital is located, has had the most deaths of any Northern California county, and the earliest known COVID-19 related deaths in the United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

With coronavirus cases and related hospitalizations climbing nationwide, is California also headed for a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Midwest, New England and the New York areas have faced troubling rises in coronavirus cases, and some have expressed concern that Los Angeles County has previously been only a few weeks behind trends coming out of New York. In the last week, average daily coronavirus cases nationally are up 5% over the previous week and the change in new COVID-19 hospitalizations is up 7%.

But so far, California remains in good shape, relatively speaking. California has one of the lowest average daily coronavirus case rates in the nation over the most recent seven-day period, while Michigan’s case rate — the worst in the nation — is 12 times higher than California’s, placing growing strain on hospitals there.

One factor that might be helping California — for reasons not fully understood — is the presence of the California variant. The California variant here might be helping to keep a lid on the U.K. variant, which is believed to be more transmissible than the conventional strains of the coronavirus and likely results in a greater chance of death.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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