COVID-19 variants have spread to all 50 states, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported to the public. 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 do and makes up a large percentage of the new cases in many states.
Fortunately, as variants become a larger part of the spread of COVID-19, vaccination rates have picked up in America. The quickening pace could not happen soon enough. As some states reopen, the wearing of masks and social distancing has disappeared in some places.
Even as the rate at which the disease spreads has slackened, America remains the nation with the worst counts in confirmed and fatal cases. The United States has had 29,846,814 confirmed cases, which is about a quarter of the world’s total. Fatal cases in America number 543,481, about a fifth of the world’s total. 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.
Although there are more COVID-19 variants than the CDC tracks and reports daily, the data does show that variants are much more widespread in some states than in others. Reported cases of the B.1.1.7 variant total 4,686 across 50 states. There are 142 reported cases of the B.1.351 variant across 25 states, and 27 reported cases of the P.1 variant across 12 states. These numbers are much lower than actual counts, so the CDC data lags the counts by many public officials.
The state with the most variant reported cases by far is Florida at 753. Of these, 738 are the B.1.1.7 variant, 13 are the P.1 variant and two are the B.1.351 variant. Florida is followed by Michigan at 617 and California with 380.
Public health officials are worried about the emergence and spread of variants in Florida. According to World Socialist Web Site:
All eyes are now on Florida, where the B.1.1.7 variant, the variant first detected in the United Kingdom, is approaching a dangerous threshold—50 percent of all new cases subject to genetic testing. Not only is this variant more transmissible, but almost everyone also agrees the virus is more lethal than its predecessor.
Because the Florida figure is so high, the state could end up as an early indicator of how much danger the variants actually pose to the public nationwide.