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New COVID-19 Variants in the U.S.

caution sign The information on this page may be outdated as it was published 3 years ago.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is constantly changing, and countless variations of the virus have been detected since the pandemic began.

Several of these variants, including the B.1.1.7 variant discovered in the United Kingdom in December, are concerning to scientists because they are more contagious than the original coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Con) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are closely monitoring the emergence of more harmful variants in the United States.

As of January 25, the B.1.1.7 variant had been reported in 24 states, including Massachusetts. The CDC predicts that it will be the primary variant in the United States by March.

Currently, there is no evidence that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. However, since the variant is more contagious than the original virus, it will likely increase the number of COVID-19 cases in the nation, leading to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths, according to the CDC.

On January 25, Minnesota health officials announced that another highly transmissible variant, known as P.1, had been detected in a resident who had recently traveled to Brazil, where the variant is causing a surge in cases. The P.1 variant is especially worrisome to experts because it contains mutations that may allow for reinfection and may reduce effectiveness of the vaccine.

Updated information on these variants can be found on the CDCs website.

Page was posted on 1/26/2021 5:34 PM
Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 12:31 AM
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