These Are the Only States Where New COVID Strains Aren't Spreading

The strains have crept into 42 states, leaving only a handful of states variant-free.

As COVID cases decline in the U.S., experts warn that there could be another surge on the horizon thanks to the new fast-spreading variants of the virus. In December, more transmissible strains of COVID began circulating abroad, and now three notable strains have made their way to the U.S. Many states found at least one strain within their borders, while some have seen two of the strains in their state. According to CDC data, only eight states have yet to report a single case of any of the new strains. Keep reading to find out more about these concerning mutations, and to make sure you're staying protected, The CDC Says Don't Go to These 4 Places Without a Better Mask.

The most prevalent variant plaguing the states is the B.1.1.7 strain, commonly referred to as the U.K. strain. This variant was first found in the U.S. at the end of December. Some states already have hundreds of COVID cases attributed to the U.K. strain, with a total of 1,277 cases reported across 42 states. It's unsurprising this variant is so prominent: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted it will become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March. A Jan. 21 study from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) concluded that not only does this strain spread faster—it's also more deadly. Researchers found significant evidence that the U.K. mutation is "associated with an increased risk of hospitalization and death compared to infection" from other strains of COVID.

The South Africa variant, formally known as B.1.351, has been documented in 10 states after first being identified in the U.S. at the end of January. The strain has only resulted in 19 cases in the country so far, but health experts are already sounding the alarm. The South Africa strain is also more transmissible, but more alarmingly, there's evidence that the existing COVID vaccines might be less effective at protecting people against it.

The Brazil strain (P.1) has only been detected in two U.S. states, resulting in just three cases. This variant was first discovered in the country at the end of January. While we don't have as much information on this strain yet, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, warned that we need to keep an eye on its development. During a Jan. 25 interview with CNN, Fauci said, "If it has the capability of spreading more efficiently, likely it might actually get more and more dominant. But we have to wait and see."

As the mutations continue to spread through the states, experts will monitor their progression. As of now, there are only eight states where these COVID strains are not spreading. To see if your state is on the list, read on, and for more on the future of the pandemic, The U.K.'s Top Scientist Has a Chilling COVID Warning for Americans.

1
Arkansas

cityscape photo of Little Rock, Arkansas at night
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And for more guidance on staying safe, Don't Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.

2
Idaho

cityscape photo of downtown Bosie, Idaho
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And for news on vaccine availability, This Is Who Can Get the Leftover Vaccine at Walgreens, CVS, & Walmart.

3
Montana

Montana
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And for more on what happens next, This Is When the COVID Pandemic Will Be Completely Over, Experts Say.

4
Nebraska

The skyline of downtown Omaha, Nebraska during the day
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And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

5
North Dakota

bridge runs over the valley and next to trees in Valley City, North Dakota
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And for advice you need to know, The CDC Is Warning You Not to Do This Right Before You Get Vaccinated.

6
South Dakota

cityscape photo of down Sioux Falls, South Dakota at night
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And for essential mask guidance, If You're Layering These Masks, the CDC Says to Stop Immediately.

7
Vermont

city skyline and buildings in Montipelier, Vermont at twilight
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And for more recent coronavirus news, If You Have This in Your Blood, You May Be Safe From Severe COVID.

8
West Virginia

cityscape photo of Charleston, West Virginia
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And for more pandemic safety precautions, This Is When You Shouldn't Double Mask, CDC Says.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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