What You Should Know: Coronavirus Updates: NPR

COVID death toll in India exceeds 400,000 - half died in second wave |  Coronavirus Pandemic News

While the delta variant of the coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States, it’s not the only variant circulating in the population. Mario Tama/Getty Images The lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states. Houston Methodist Hospital reported its first case of the variant this week. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina recently announced they had found the variant in a virus sample taken in April.

Mario Tama/Getty Images toggle caption

A medical assistant administers a COVID-19 test last week in Los Angeles. COVID-19 cases are on the rise as the highly transmissible delta variant has become the dominant strain in the United States. hide caption

The delta variant, which is more than two times as transmissible as the original strain of the coronavirus, now accounts for 83% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. Delta continues to be the central concern for public health officials. What we know about the lambda variant So do we need to add lambda to our list of big worries in the U.S.? Not yet, according to public health officials and experts.

Less than 1% of U.S. cases in the last four weeks have been identified as the lambda variant, according to GISAID, a repository for genome data. According to a database for scientists tracking COVID-19 variants, fewer than 700 cases of the lambda variant have been sequenced in the U.S. so far out of more than 34 million total cases reported to date. But the U.S. has sequenced only a tiny fraction of its cases, so that number does not reflect the actual number of lambda cases in the country.

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