Novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is shown here in orange and yellow. COVID mutations are now spreading through the United States. Microphotography by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
New more, contagious COVID-19 variants are spreading throughout the country, with nearly all states detecting the variant first identified in the United Kingdom. Florida has the largest number of the U.K. variant cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday evening reported 3,701 cases of the U.K. strain in 50 jurisdictions. Known as B.1.1.7, the variant is more transmissible than the original coronavirus. Those jurisdictions are in 48 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Florida has the largest number of U.K. variant cases, at 690.
Other states with high numbers of U.K. cases are Michigan, 562; California, 262; Colorado, 264 and Georgia, 204.
Florida also has all three COVID-19 variants embedded in their communities: The United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil variants. Other states with all three variants are Maryland, Illinois and the state of Washington.
Vermont is the only state in the United States that has none of the new COVID-19 variants. Several U.S. territories also have no variants.
The CDC reported 108 cases of the South Africa variant in 23 states and Washington, D.C. And the Brazil variant has 17 cases in 10 states.
(Cases are based on a sampling of specimens and do not represent the total number of variant cases that could be circulating in the United States.)
Meanwhile, health officials warn that COVID-19 strains spread more easily, which could lead to a surge in cases, overwhelm the health care system and lead to more deaths.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to issue a statewide face mask mandate, even as health experts have raised concerns over whether current COVID-19 vaccines will protect against all or some of the variants.
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