These Are the 11 States Where the New Delta-Plus Strain Is Spreading Now
The list of places where the subvariant has been reported is growing.
The latest health data shows that the pandemic appears to have shifted course once again. After plateauing between 70,000 and 75,000 for three weeks, last week's daily new COVID-19 case average jumped 14 percent to 83,500 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by CNBC. But even as the Delta variant continues to spike in new areas, officials and experts are becoming concerned about the potentially faster-spreading Delta-plus subvariant known as AY.4.2, which has so far been reported in 11 states across the U.S.
Officials have been monitoring AY.4.2 since it was first detected in the U.S. in late October, circulating at very low levels that made up less than 0.05 percent of cases at the time. However, the subvariant has recently begun to surge in the U.K. and now accounts for 12 percent of the cases there, according to the latest REACT survey conducted by the British government. Interestingly, data also found that AY.4.2 could potentially be less likely to cause symptomatic COVID in those that it infects.
According to one expert, this possible trait could be helping it spread. "It is absolutely the case that if people are waiting for symptoms to do a test and to therefore identify that they are infected and therefore should cut back their contacts, being asymptomatic may facilitate transmission," Christl Donnelly, co-author of the latest REACT study and a professor at Imperial College London, told The Guardian.
So far, other data analysis potentially point to AY.4.2 posing less of a threat than when the original variant began to spread." It looks like it has somewhere between a 12 percent and 18 percent transmission advantage over Delta, so it's not good news in that sense," Christina Pagel, PhD, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, told CNBC. "It's going to make things a bit more difficult, but it's not a massive jump."
But Pagel predicted that the current data likely means the latest variant could be less of a concern. "Delta compared to Alpha was around 60 percent more transmissible, it was doubling every week. This is going up by a percent or two a week—it's much, much slower. So in that sense, it's not a big disaster like Delta was. It will probably gradually replace Delta over the next few months. But there's no sign it's more vaccine resistant, [so] at the moment I wouldn't be panicking about it."
But where has the AY.4.2 subvariant already been reported? Read on to see which states have already detected at least one case of the new Delta-plus strain as of Nov. 18, according to Outbreak.info.
California has so far reported seven cases of the Delta-plus subvariant. As of Nov. 18, the state's positivity rate was 2.5 percent, with a daily new case average of 13.4 per 100,000 people over the past week, according to COVID Act Now.
One case of the Delta-plus subvariant has been uncovered by lab testing in Connecticut as of Nov. 18. The positive test rate there is also 2.9 percent, and the daily case average is 18.3 per capita.
A single case caused by AY.4.2 has been reported in Florida. Meanwhile, the daily case average over the past seven days is 6.8 per 100,000 people, and the positive test rate is 2.5 percent.
Maryland has so far reported one case of the Delta-plus subvariant. The daily case average is 14 per capita, while the positivity rate is 3.6 percent.
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In Massachusetts, one case was found to have been caused by the Delta-plus subvariant. The positive test rate in the state is 2.2 percent, while its daily new case average is 31.1 per 100,000 people.
Lab sequencing has so far found two cases in Minnesota caused by the AY.4.2 subvariant. The state also has a daily new case average of 74.9 per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 12.2 percent.
One case of the Delta-plus subvariant has been reported in Nevada. The current daily case average there is 22.1 per 100,000 people and a 9.1 percent positive test rate.
North Carolina has reported one case caused by the Delta subvariant to date. The state is also currently seeing a daily average of 17.1 new cases per capita and a positive test rate of 5.2 percent.
One AY.4.2 case has been reported in Rhode Island so far, where the positive test rate is currently 2.7 percent, and the new daily case average is 37.3 per 100,000 people.
According to lab results, three cases caused by AY.4.2 subvariant have been reported in Virginia. There's also a positive test rate of 5.8 percent and a daily new case average of 16.8 per capita.
One case of the Delta-plus subvariant has been reported in Washington so far. The state's current positive test rate is 9.9 percent, and its daily new case average is 23.1 per capita for the past week.