How new Japan coronavirus variant compares to UK, South Africa strains: 6 notes

Japan officials have identified a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, reports CNBC.

Six things to know:

1. A new variant of the coronavirus was detected in four travelers arriving from Brazil, Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases said Jan. 10. One man in his 40s, who was asymptomatic upon his arrival in Japan, was hospitalized as his respiratory condition worsened.  

2. The newly identified strain was found to share some of the mutations with those of concern for increased infectivity, the institute said, referring to variants identified in the U.K. and South Africa.  

3. Japan declared a state of emergency Jan. 7 for the Tokyo area after the capital city saw a record number of COVID-19 cases. 

4. A fast-spreading variant was detected in the U.K. in September and is now highly prevalent in London and southeast England. The variant appears to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, but there is no current evidence that it causes more severe illness or increases risk of death. The variant has been detected in 45 countries and eight U.S. states.  

5. South African officials announced Dec. 18 the detection of variant 501Y.V2, with preliminary studies finding the variant has increased transmissibility. The strain had been reported in four other countries as of Dec. 30.

6. Public health experts have voiced concern regarding the new strains' effect on vaccination efforts.

More articles on public health:
UK variant found in 8 states; hospitalizations top 100K for 40 days — 6 COVID-19 updates
'Lawless' vaccine rollout; 22 UK variant cases — 9 things to know about COVID-19 in Florida
States ranked by percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered


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