Coronavirus Variant First Found in Brazil Detected in Deceased Maryland Man

A Maryland man who died recently of coronavirus had a variant first found in Brazil — the state’s first confirmed case of the strain.

The presence of the P.1 variant was confirmed by the Maryland Department of Health in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.

“State public health officials are closely monitoring the P.1 variant, and we mourn the loss of this Marylander to COVID-19,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “As we continue to test for these variants, we strongly encourage Marylanders to continue taking precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including mask wearing, regular hand washing and physical distancing.”

The man, who was older than 65, died after returning from international travel. The state presently is contact tracing to halt the spread of the variant.

The P.1 variant was first detected in the U.S. in January. Two other variants first detected in the U.K. and South Africa were found in the state last month.

The newer variants of the novel coronavirus are believed to be more contagious than the initial strain, but it hasn’t been determined whether they are more potent.

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