New COVID-19 Mu Variant Detected In Florida

Amy-Grace Shapiro, Feature Editor

The Mu variant, one of the newest-discovered COVID-19 mutations, has spread to nearly 40 countries and a majority of the U.S., including Florida. 

Back in January, Mu originated in Colombia and sporadically spread to Europe and other South American countries. On Oct. 3, the first reported case of the variant arrived in the U.S.  Now, with the exception of California, Florida has the largest number of mu cases. 

On Sept. 6, Florida recorded 10,162 new COVID cases, with 305 linked to the Mu variant. Although Florida’s number of active cases is slowly declining, detected cases continue to reach 10,000 daily, with hundreds relating to Mu. 

Last month, the World Health Organization categorized the Mu variant as a “variant of interest.” This means that although worrying, the strain could not be deemed as concerning as other variants like the Delta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants,which make up a majority of cases today. By definition, with a variant of concern, there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease, significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines or diagnostic detection failures.

According to Insider, Delta and Mu share many similar characteristics, however, Delta carries greater risks. Mu carries mutations that could potentially resist COVID-19 vaccine protection, but since its initial peak in July, the variant has not become more prominent. This provides experts with an indication that mu will not become more dominant, since it has not accounted for a higher surge in global cases.

Although mu has spread across the world, it still remains rather uncommon. Mu only accounts for less than half a percent of global COVID cases.