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.
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