FL remains the leader in U.S in COVID mutations that are more transmissible

This is an image of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The virus is now creating mutations that are spreading in the United States and elsewhere. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Lab

Florida now has 147 cases of the United Kingdom mutation that is more transmissible and potentially legal — more than any state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The so-called B.1.1.7 variant that emerged in the United Kingdom has now spread to 32 states nationwide, up from 30 on Friday. The CDC reported 467 cases of the strain on Sunday.

Two other variants have four cases in three states.

The agency is now tracking all three variants on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, so the Sunday data, Feb. 1, is now the most recent.

In addition to Florida, the highest number of United Kingdom cases are in California (113), New York (42), Michigan (22) Georgia (18).

(The cases identified are based on a sampling of specimens and do not represent the total number of B.1.1.7 cases across the nation, according to the CDC.)

That variant is of concern because it is considered more transmissible and potentially more lethal.

Cases are expected to continue to climb, as federal health officials earlier warned of the new COVID-19 variant potentially becoming the dominant strain by March.

The CDC has also started to track two other variants that have come into the United States: B.1.351, from South Africa, and P.1, from Brazil.

The CDC has now reported three cases of the South Africa strain — two in South Carolina and another new case in Maryland. The CDC reported one case of the Brazil strain in Minnesota.

You can look at data at the CDC here.

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.