Scientists identify new COVID-19 variant that may have originated in California

Scientists have now identified a new COVID-19 variant that appears to have originated in California.
New research shows the new variant is taking over California, becoming the majority of cases in 44 counties in the state.
Researchers say this version of coronavirus binds more easily to human receptor cells than the traditional virus. A study conducted shows the new variant has a slightly higher risk of death, however, researchers say that needs to be studied further.
Despite the new variant in California, overall cases are going down.
Dr. Harish Moorjani, an infectious disease doctor at Phelps Hospital, says mask wearing, social distancing and getting vaccinated are still effective ways to stay protected.
"Concern yes, but the important thing is we have the tools to combat it and people have to follow those rules we've laid down to protect oneself and to shut down the multiplication so mutations don't emerge." says Moorjani.
It is not yet known whether the California strain is resistant to the vaccines.