The spread of COVID-19 across America has slowed. As of yesterday, there were 29,258,941 confirmed cases and 529,527 fatal ones. The pace of the daily rise in each count has dropped by more than half in the last two months. Scientists and doctors have two primary worries about whether the pace will continue to slow. The first is that some states have eliminated requirements to wear masks and social distance. The other is variants of COVID-19 which may spread faster or be more deadly than the version of the disease which has done the most damage starting last January. One of more of these variants may be partially resistant to some vaccines. There is not enough data to tell.
Vaccination rates have been encouraging. As of yesterday, the CDC reports, 17% of Americans had been given at least one shot. A total of 9% had been given two doses. At least 116,355,405 doses have been delivered and 87,912,323 shots have been given.
The CDC tracks and reports on three variants at its US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants page. These include the B.1.1.7 variant, the B.1.351 variant, and the P.1 variant. “Reported cases” measured by the CDC for these are low. For the B.1.1.7 variant, the figure is 2,672 across 48 states, 68 cases of the B.1.351 variant across 17 states, and 13 cases of the P.1 variant across seven states.
Five states account for more than half the cases reported by the CDC. Florida has 642, Michigan has 421, California has 250, New York State has 136, and Georgia has 155.
The CDC reported data only tells part of the story. The variant from the U.K. (B.1.1.7) is reportedly widespread. According to The New York Times: “As U.S. coronavirus cases remain at a low not seen since October, a more contagious variant first reported in the United Kingdom has likely grown to account for more than 20 percent of new U.S. cases as of this week, according to an analysis of data from Helix, a lab testing company.”
There are also reports of a new variant in California. What is not clear is how widespread it may be, or whether it is resistant to current vaccines.
The CDC report on variants is incomplete. The number of cases of the three variants it tracks for the public could be in the tens of thousands. And, variants it does not track have already begun to spread.