A new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa has been found in the United States.
Two cases of the South African variant were discovered in South Carolina, according to state health officials.
The two cases were discovered in adults in different regions of the state and do not appear to be connected. And neither of the people infected has travelled recently, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said.
“That’s frightening because it means there could be more undetected cases within the state,” Dr. Krutika Kuppalli said.
The infectious diseases physician at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston cautioned that “It’s probably more widespread.”
The coronavirus has already sickened millions and killed roughly 430,000 people in the United States.
Viruses are constantly mutating, and coronavirus variants are circulating around the globe, but scientists are primarily concerned with the emergence of three. Other variants first reported in the United Kingdom and Brazil were previously confirmed in the U.S. Researchers believe these three variants may spread more easily.