The quick answer is a lot, but only one strain is concerning doctors right now: The science world has been buzzing with troubling news that the virus that causes COVID-19 may have mutated in such a way to make it more transmissible. A preliminary study from April 30 and another on June 12 suggested that the virus variant, called G614, harbors a feature that allows the virus to more easily infect cells and therefore spread more rapidly. The concern rose even more last week when Anthony Fauci, MD, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), broached the idea during an online chat. Here are 13 ways this coronavirus pandemic is different from all epidemics in history.
A mutation that speeds up COVID-19’s spread might explain why the virus—known as SARS-CoV-2—has so rapidly moved through North America and Europe, where the G614 mutated version is predominant. The