COVID-19 variants have spread to all 50 states, according to data just reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These variants are labeled B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1. (Other variants have emerged as well, although the CDC does not report on them directly.)
The B.1.1.7 variant spreads more aggressively than the others and now makes up a large percentage of the new cases in many places. Reported cases of this variant total 4,686 across all 50 states, according to the CDC. There are also 142 reported cases of the B.1.351 variant across 25 states and 27 reported cases of the P.1 variant across 12 states — though the actual numbers are higher, since CDC data lags behind the counts made by many state and local public officials. (Overall, these are the states with the highest number of COVD-19 cases.)
The situation isn’t helped by the fact that in some places, particularly those states that have reopened, some people have stopped wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Fortunately, as variants become a larger part of the spread of COVID-19, vaccination rates have picked up. These are the states doing the best in the race to roll out vaccines.
Even as the rate at which the disease spreads slackens, America remains the nation with the worst counts in both confirmed cases and fatalities. The United States has had 29,846,814 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, which is about a quarter of the world’s total. Fatal cases in America number 543,481, about a fifth of all those suffered internationally. New daily cases continue to hover around 50,000, which public health officials say remains dangerously high, despite being down sharply from two months ago.
The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recently issued new important global warnings about variants.