Has the COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, come to your state yet? A new map from the CDC will help you know if that has happened.
The only constant is change, as the saying goes, something that’s particularly true of viruses, which are continually mutating. That unfortunately includes SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We’ve now reached the point in the pandemic when new variants of the virus are popping up around the world and making their way to the United States.
So far, there are three variants of COVID-19 circulating globally. One known as B.1.1.7 was found in the U.K. in September, and it seems to be contagious than other variants. It’s highly prevalent in London and southeast England. Evidence that they cause more severe illness or increased risk of death has not emerged, but more research is needed to speak definitively about it.
A variant known as 1.351 was found in South Africa in early October. Another, P.1, was found in four travelers from Brazil going through routine screening at the Haneda airport near Tokyo.
Of the three, only B.1.1.7 has been found in the United States. A new map from the CDC shows where B.1.1.7 lineage cases of COVID-19—those whose lineage can be traced to that variant of the virus—have been found so far.
The majority of the 144 total cases confirmed so far are in Florida and California, which have 46 and 40 cases, respectively. New York, with 17, is the only other state in double digits. In seven states, just a single case has been confirmed. Thirty states and all eight U.S. territories listed on the map have zero confirmed cases.
The data show that, thus far, this new variant of the coronavirus caused a fraction of a fraction of the cases in the United States. Does that mean it’s not going to be a problem in the future? Of course not, particularly given the early evidence showing it could be even more contagious. It’s yet another challenge for the days-old Biden administration as it seeks to control the pandemic as soon as possible.