There are currently variants of concern in the United States.
This variant was first detected in the United States in December 2020. It was initially detected in the United Kingdom. The Alpha variant is currently classified as a variant of concern. It accounts for 0% of new cases in the New York area as of Dec. 2021.
This variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January 2021. It was initially detected in South Africa in December 2020. The Beta variant is currently classified as a variant of concern. It accounts for 0% of new cases in the New York area as of Dec. 2021.
This variant was first detected in the United States in March 2021. It was initially identified in India in December 2020. Until the middle of December 2021, it accounted for nearly all of known COVID-19 cases in New York City.
This variant was first detected in multiple countries as of November 2021. It is estimated that it currently accounts for over 90% of COVID-19 cases in New York City as of Dec. 2021.
This variant was first detected in the United States in January 2021. P.1 was initially identified in travelers from Brazil.
What is a variant?
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur. If you think about a virus like a tree growing and branching out, each branch on the tree is slightly different than the others. By comparing the branches, scientists can label them according to the differences. These small differences, or variants, have been studied and identified since the beginning of the pandemic.
How are variants classified?
1. Variants of Interest: These have genetic markers that have been associated with higher risks of transmission, reinfection or severe illness, as well as reduced vaccine effectiveness.
2. Variants of Concern: There is evidence these are more likely to spread, cause reinfection or cause severe illness, as well as reduce vaccine effectiveness.
3. Variants of High Consequence: There is clear evidence that existing prevention tactics, including vaccination, are less effective against these variants.
How do variants impact vaccine efficacy?
How do variants impact transmissability?
The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently in development or have been approved are expected to provide at least some protection against new virus variants because these vaccines elicit a broad immune response involving a range of antibodies and cells. Therefore, changes or mutations in the virus should not make vaccines completely ineffective. In the event that any of these vaccines prove to be less effective against one or more variants, it will be possible to change the composition of the vaccines to protect against these variants.
These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
Information about variants is constantly evolving and information is accurate to the time it was updated.