What is the new COVID variant, and why are scientists worried?

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NJ.com

Scientists in South Africa identified a new variant of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new strain first emerged, but scientists first alerted the World Health Organization and it has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days, although experts are still trying to determine if the new variant is actually responsible. From just over…

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