CORONAVIRUS is killing one person every EIGHT MINUTES in Los Angeles pushing funeral homes and crematoriums to their limits.
More than 2,700 bodies were being stored at both hospitals and the coroner's office as of Jan 15.
LA officials have confirmed that the growing backlog of cases constitutes a threat to public health.
The South Coast Air Quality Management (AQMD), which is responsible for monitoring air pollution, announced on Sunday that the usual restrictions are being lifted until January 27, Mail Online reports.
Wayne Nastri, head of AQMD, said crematoriums had the capacity to perform more cremations but were being prevented by "regulatory limits".
He added the coroner "anticipates that another surge is approaching as a result of the New Year's holiday, since deaths tend to occur 4-6 weeks after gatherings".
Covid-19 is surging in California, with deaths averaging 528 – a rise of 15 per cent compared to last week.
It comes as a new strain of the killer bug has appeared in the Golden State – and is a completely different one from the highly contagious variant in the UK.
California's Department of Public Health said they are still testing if the new strain is highly contagious, which was found in multiple counties across the state.
The DPH is questioning not only if it's more contagious, but also if the strain is being identified more frequently thanks to advancements in lab work.
Researchers have linked the strain to a number of large outbreaks in Santa Clara County alone.
"This virus continues to mutate and adapt, and we cannot let down our guard," said Dr. Sara Cody, director of Santa Clara County's Public Health Department.
"The fact that this variant was identified in several large outbreaks in our county is a red flag and must be investigated further," she added.
The variant was also found in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego, Humboldt, Lake, Mono, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.
University of California San Francisco virologist Dr. Charles Chiu warned that the variant has three mutations in the spike protein, which is how the virus attaches itself to cells.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines target the spike protein, meaning this new variant's protein mutations could make it less susceptible to vaccine.
Dr. Chiu said scientists are looking at the variant to determine if it is more infectious or impacts vaccine performance.
News of the new variant comes as coronavirus deaths skyrocket in over 30 states as the United States nears 400,000 total deaths since the start of the pandemic, almost as many people that died in World War II.
The nation's infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said if there was a sounding alarm to get the vaccine, it would be the US version of a mutant strain.
"When you have a variant that is really very, very different, in the sense that it's more contagious, it tells you to do two things," Fauci said on Meet the Press.
"One, double down on the public health measures we've been talking about all the time," he continued. "Be very compulsive, as the president-elect says, at least for the first 100 days and maybe more, everybody wear a mask, keep the distance, avoid congregate settings."
Dr Fauci added: "The easiest way to evade this negative effect of these new isolates is to – when the vaccine becomes available, people should get vaccinated.
"If there was ever a clarion call for people to put aside vaccine hesitancy, if we can get the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, we'd be in very good shape."
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