India's surging COVID-19 outbreak includes new 'double mutant' variant

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

India's health ministry reported 103,558 new COVID-19 cases Monday, making India the second country to top 100,000 new cases in a single day. The other country to hit that level, the U.S, recorded more than 200,000 cases a day through much of December. India is inoculating more than 2 million people a day, but with 1.3 billion people, that works out to only 5 percent of its population getting a first dose of vaccine. India, a major vaccine manufacturing hub, slowed down exports of vaccine to focus on immunizing its population.

The epicenter of India's outbreak is Maharashtra state, home to Mumbai, which reported 57,074 new cases Sunday and ordered weekend lockdowns and nightly curfews in response. Some public health experts blame the mounting cases on erosion of the immunity acquired from previous infections, changed behavior, and deadlier and more contagious new variants. About 20 percent of new cases in Maharashtra have been found to include a new "double mutant" variant, which includes the E484Q and L452R mutations, according to India's health ministry.

Louisiana State University virologist Dr. Jeremy Kamil told BBC News he doesn't think the new double variant is more deadly or necessarily more transmissible. India's government says the variants are probably not responsible for the sharp rise in cases.

More stories from theweek.com
Trump's circle isn't defending Matt Gaetz because 'not a lot of people are surprised' by the allegations
Janet Yellen's proposal to revolutionize corporate taxation
Reince Preibus has an 'actual reef' in his house

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting