COVID-19 variants have spread to all 50 states, according to data just reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The main 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 now makes up a large percentage of the new cases in many places. Reported cases of this variant total 5,567 across all 50 states, according to the CDC. There are also 180 reported cases of the B.1.351 variant across 26 states and 48 reported cases of the P.1 variant in 15 states. Because CDC data lags behind the counts made by many state and local public officials, the actual numbers are higher.
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.
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 29,905,513 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, which is about a quarter of the world’s total. Fatal cases in America number 545,131, or 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.
Another way to measure cases is on the basis of 100,000 people. This allows for comparisons across states and counties regardless of population size. By this measure, the county with the highest number of confirmed cases in the past 14 days is Lyon County, Kentucky, at 722.49. This is substantially ahead of the next county by this measure, which is Mineral County, Colorado, with a rate of 199.62.
Lyon County is located east of Bowling Green and near Paducah. It has a population of 8,210, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just short of 90% of the population is white. At $52,528, the median household income is below the national average. The 14.5% poverty rate is higher than the national number.