Viruses mutate. It seems simple enough, but for our communities it can create complications. Currently there are three variants of the COVID-19 virus that are beginning to circulate in the United States. Below we have the facts from the CDC about each of them:
- B.1.1.7 was first identified in the United Kingdom in the fall of 2020. It spread to the Unites States in December 2020. It spreads more easily and more quickly than other variants. Experts hypothesize that this variant comes with an increased risk of death. More studies are still needed to confirm this report. As of this posting, there have been 1881 reported cases of this strain by 45 states.
- B.1.351 emerged in South Africa, also in the fall of 2020. It reached the United States in January 2021. It shares similar mutations as B.1.1.7. As of this posting, there have been 46 reported cases of this strain by 14 states.
- P.1 is a variant that was first identified in an airport in Japan but is associated with Brazil since Brazilian travelers were those that were infected with this variant. Experts believe this variant’s mutations may make it harder for antibodies to recognize it. P.1 was identified in the United States in January 2021. As of this posting, there have only been 5 reported cases of this strain by 4 states.
You can keep up with the spread of each of these variants by visiting this page from the CDC.
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