As if the strain of COVID-19 on American lives weren’t enough, recent data claims that the new strain of coronavirus has reached American shores, and is present in at least 9 states. The coronavirus variant, first discovered in the U.K is officially known as B.1.1.7. CDC data shows that there have been at least 63 infections of B.1.1.7 in the United States, but officials worry that the number could be much higher.
Colorado was the first state to report a positive case of B.1.1.7. The state now has three cases. Connecticut has reported two positive cases while Georgia, New York, and Texas have one each. Minnesota’s Department of Health announced that it has detected five positive cases for B.1.1.7. The CDC reports that California has 32 positive cases of the new COVID-19 strain, followed closely by Florida which has 22.
Scientists agree that B.1.1.7 was 70% more transmissible than COVID-19, especially after studying its spread in the UK. Besides, the strain has a distinctive set of 17 genetic changes and spreads faster too. However, scientists haven’t found evidence to support claims that the new strain makes people sicker. The medical community also believes that all COVID-19 vaccines developed are effective against the B.1.1.7.
Positive cases of the new strain have been found in 49 different countries so governments across the world are scrambling to reinstate and re-evaluate containment measures. But even with the most stringent measures in place, countries like the U.K have not witnessed any significant halt in the spread of the infection.
This may spell trouble for the United States. John Hopkins University reports that the United States accounts for 25 percent of all coronavirus cases and more than 19 percent of COVID-19 deaths globally. This is despite having only 4 percent of the entire world’s population. The CDC advises that Americans don’t let up on precautionary measures like wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining social distance.