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Photo: vchal (Shutterstock) Viruses mutate; so does everything, really. But experts are now concerned about a few of the thousands of coronavirus variants that have turned up around the world. We wrote about the UK variant last month ; now there are more, including one in Los Angeles. You do not need to panic . But it’s good to be informed. One of the big reasons we’re seeing new variants now, a year into the pandemic, is that there’s just so much more virus out there than there was 12 months ago. The more virus there is in the world, the more chances it has to mutate. And the more variants there are, the greater the chances that some of them will be bad news. If we (as a global community) had done a better job of containing the virus in the first place, we might not have gotten to the point where there are multiple variants that are different enough to worry the experts. But here we are. Another thing to remember is that you’ll only find variants if you’re looking for them. The UK variant, B.1.1.7, was discovered in part because the UK does a lot of what’s called surveillance testing—monitoring exactly what kinds of coronaviruses are out there. The U.S. does some of this too, but much less. The B.1.1.7 variant was probably already in other countries by the time it was discovered in the UK; they just hadn’t found it yet. What are the variants […]