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South Africa Covid Variant Tied to 16-Fold Boost in Cases in Zambia

  • Pace of acceleration a concern to public health officials
  • Mutation that’s widespread in Africa seen in 10 U.S. states

A coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa was linked to a 16-fold increase in cases in neighboring Zambia within a month, showing it has the ability to spread more swiftly and efficiently than the original strain.

The South Africa mutation, known by scientists as B.1.351, was first detected in Zambia in December. The daily average of new cases rose from 44 in the first 10 days of that month to 700 in the first 10 days of January, according to a report Wednesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.