The new COVID-19 strain has been found in Big Bear. At least two cases of the evolved virus have been detected in the area. This new variant of the virus is alarming since the virus’s new strain is more contagious and more easily spread. The new strain was first detected in the United Kingdom and is slowly spreading everywhere. The new strain identified in Big Bear was announced on Friday, January 1, 2021, so the new year began with unpleasant news for people in the Big Bear area.
Two cases of the new COVID-19 strain were found in Big Bear after someone in the area had contact with a traveler who returned from the United Kingdom on December 11, 2020. The individual who visited the United Kingdom began showing the coronavirus symptoms three days after returning from the United Kingdom. The individual from Big Bear got infected by this traveler and spread the new variant to the other person in their household, making the total number in Big Bear two cases.
Big Bear is not the first location in Southern California to have detected the new strain of the virus. On Wednesday, December 30, the California governor confirmed that California’s first case was detected in San Diego. However, the San Diego man who tested positive for the new strain of the virus had no recent travel history, so it is unknown where he obtained the coronavirus variant. Like the Big Bear cases, this man spread the variant to the other person in his household, making the total number in San Diego two cases. This means California currently has four cases of the new strain.
Big Bear, which is where the new strain of COVID-19 was found, is located about two hours away from Los Angeles. The small mountain city is a part of San Bernardino County and is only 25 miles northeast of San Bernardino. Many people living in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas visit Big Bear during the winter months to play in the snow and do some skiing. Therefore, it is no surprise COVID has reached the mountain tops with the many visitors Big Bear got over the holidays.
During COVID, visitors are still allowed to visit Big Bear, but there are safety protocols to try and reduce the spread of the virus. Everyone in Big Bear must wear a mask in common areas, indoor public spaces, and circumstances where social distancing cannot be practiced. This is a guideline issued by the state of California. Big Bear has also closed all dining and indoor attractions. Visitors are only allowed to get food to go from the local restaurants.
Snow lovers can also visit the ski slopes and resorts in Big Bear. However, it will be different from previous years. Guests must wear masks and social distance while visiting the resorts. They have also limited the number of daily lift tickets, and there will be no walk-up sales. The class sizes have also been reduced.
As of December 31, the number of COVID cases in Big Bear is 666. The most updated COVID numbers for San Bernardino County is 208K cases and 1,449 deaths. Even though California is doing everything they can to make the numbers go down, people are still going out and raising the number of COVID cases.
New Strain of COVID-19
In December 2020, a new strain of COVID-19 was discovered in the United Kingdom. The new strain was created because there was a change to the original coronavirus’ genes; essentially, the virus has evolved. However, the virus is the same in terms of symptoms, but it is more contagious, which means it can spread faster and worsen the current pandemic.
Since the news broke about the new strain of COVID-19, many people began worrying about the new COVID vaccine and whether it would work on the new strain. According to Stuart Ray, M.D., an expert at John Hopkins, “There is no evidence at this point that immune responses driven by current vaccines would not work against this new strain.” Therefore, there is some good news in the midst of all the bad news.
The worst part of this discovery is it is not the end; there will most likely be other mutations of the virus as the coronavirus pandemic continues. COVID-19 will continue to evolve for as long as it is around, but not all variants will raise concern.
COVID-19 has been big news in the world for almost an entire year. When the virus first made headlines, most people believed it would only last a few weeks or months at most, but almost a year later, it is still making headlines and causing national lockdowns.
The latest COVID-19 news includes England entering another national lockdown, hospitals in the United States running out of space as the number of cases rise, and California battling a surge of the virus. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, decided to enforce another lockdown. The lockdown means everyone in England must stay home unless it is for essential shopping, exercise, COVID-19 testing, medical help, escaping domestic abuse, and work for those who cannot work from home.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, America is also struggling with the pandemic. There were nearly 78,000 deaths in America in December alone. However, the surge of the pandemic is currently in California, specifically in Los Angeles County. It has gotten so bad that Los Angeles County ambulance crews have been told to limit the number of COVID-19 patients they take to the hospital because there is no more room in the hospitals.
Even though it has almost been a year, everyone needs to continue wearing masks and stay home as much as possible to stay safe and reduce the spread of the virus.