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As Delta takes deadly toll, 'Mu' COVID variant next threat to Austin

According to Austin Public Health, Mu has yet to be detected in Austin. (Levan/Adobe)

You've heard of Delta and P.1 but a new COVID-19 variant has landed in Texas: Mu, the newest variant that has made its way to four dozen countries and 49 states.


Mu was discovered in Colombia back in January, making its way to even the U.S.'s far-reaching states like Alaska and Hawaii. The only state that remains Mu-free so far is Nebraska.

According to health officials, Mu is believed to be more transmissible and vaccine-resistant than the Delta variant. So far, the highest number of Mu cases have been detected in California, 384, with 167 landing in Los Angeles County.

According to Austin Public Health officials, no cases of Mu have been detected yet in Austin, though as tests go through the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, the variant results could be on a delay. At least 50 cases of the Mu variant have been detected in Houston.

"APH will continue to monitor the development of new variants, however, Delta remains the dominant strain," an APH spokesperson told Austonia on Tuesday. "Regardless of the strain though, we know that vaccination and masking are the most effective tools in combating COVID-19."

Mu has yet to be labeled as a "variant of concern" for the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though any variation poses cause for concern that the strain will be resistant to vaccination. Mu was labeled a "variant of interest" by the CDC on Aug. 30.

"We have seen, though, even with Delta, the vaccine remains effective in preventing severe disease and illness that requires hospitalization," APH said. "Unvaccinated individuals, regardless of the variant, will always have a significant risk of contracting COVID-19 and having more severe symptoms than vaccinated individuals, especially as Delta remains the dominant strain."

Delta remains the biggest variant of concern across the U.S., Texas and Austin, contributing to this summer's deadly spike in cases.

APH is continuing to ask people to get vaccinated to protect yourself from any of the virus' variants, wear masks, avoid large gatherings and stay home if you feel sick.

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