A new coronavirus delta variant believed to be even more contagious than the version that fueled spikes in cases nationwide earlier this year has been detected in D.C. and eight states, including Maryland.

The new strain — AY.4.2 — has been recognized by laboratories in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington state in addition to the District, MassLive.com reported.

AY.4.2 has been found in more than 11% of delta variant cases in the United Kingdom. So far, 11 cases have been documented in the U.S. since Aug. 24, when the strain was first detected.

The AY.4.2 strain, also known as “Delta plus,” is thought to be more transmissible, though health officials haven’t seen any signs that it’s any more dangerous or less susceptible to existing vaccines, MassLive.com reported.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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