Michigan's first case of the COVID-19 B1617 variant has been reported. This particular strain of the virus, dubbed a 'double mutant' variant, is said to have originated in India.

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed on Friday that a man from Clinton County has tested positive with the variant. The man recently traveled to India.

Why is it a 'Double Mutant' variant?

The India variant, B1617, has been dubbed a "double-mutant" because it carries two mutations that have only been seen separately in other variants but never together in one.

Reports indicate that about 60% of India's cases of COVID-19 are currently the B1617 variant, which is considered highly contagious.

Dr. Matthew Sims, the head of infectious disease research at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak tells Fox 2 that the variant could be the reason India is currently seeing a record number of COVID-19 cases. The country is nearing 18 million positive cases.

"India is going through what we have as our greatest fears with this pandemic right now," Dr. Sims said. "Our concern is a lot of that may be due to this variant that they have."


CDC warns that travel could spread COVID-19

The United States is restricting travel to and from India beginning 5/4 (tomorrow).

"Travel spreads variants, we know that. So, as much as possible, travel should be restricted," Sims said.

The CDC says that even people who are fully vaccinated should avoid traveling to India because of the highly contagious nature of the B1617 variant.


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LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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