But how exactly do you need to worry, given that so many people in the state are already vaccinated or at the forefront of eligibility? The truth is hard to say, even for experts.
For now, the best we can do is evaluate the data about the variant. Let’s take a quick look at some of what this is what we know.
First, let’s look at the number of cases of coronavirus associated with Massachusetts variants detected so far. According to the CDC and the state, 977 British variants, 82 Brazilian variants and 12 South African variants have been found. The number has continued to grow since the state’s first incident, the British variant, was announced on January 17.
The UK subspecies total is the fourth highest in the United States, and the Brazilian subspecies total is the second highest.
This is a county-by-county map from the state public health service where the case was found.
Important Note: This data does not represent the actual number of variant cases. The genomic sequencing required to look for variants is done only in a limited number of tests. The numbers are “based on sampling of SARS-CoV-2 positive samples and may be circulating … they do not represent the total number of cases,” CDC said.
Next, let’s look at the percentage of different variants in the state. As of mid-March, UK variants accounted for almost one-fifth of cases in the state, according to CDC data, but two other officially concerned variants, B.1.427. And B.1.429, or a variant of California, is the second. Most popular.
Again, be careful with the data from a limited number of tests. “The percentage of variants does not represent the total number of possible distributions,” the CDC states.
Data from much different sources provide another warning sign that variants are lurking in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has discovered a British variant in the wastewater of the Deer Island Treatment Plant.
Biobot Analytics in Cambridge, which is testing the MWRA, states that the test was always able to detect the coronavirus, whatever the variant. But recently, the company announced that it has added the ability to clearly distinguish when a UK variant was detected by sampling. The date the variant was detected is displayed in green on the graph.
The focus on the British variants is understandable given the predominance of the variants. It is also fatal, with the latest estimates being about 60% more contagious than the original form of coronavirus.
At the national level, the CDC also reports the number of cases of variants by state, categorized by the three most well-known variants.
The same warning applies for limited testing.
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute used data collected from genomic sequencing tests to calculate national-level estimates of the proportion of coronavirus cases caused by variants of interest and variants of interest.
This graph suggests that as of mid-March, the subspecies of concern are involved in about one-third of current coronavirus cases nationwide.
CDC’s efforts to track the spread of coronavirus variants have been criticized Earlier this year.. However, these have improved significantly in recent weeks and are expected to continue to improve primarily due to the $ 1.75 billion funding for genomic sequencing of stimulation packages.
Still, testing variants needs to be more systematic, more extensive, and more subtle, says Dr. Thomas Tsai, an assistant professor of public health at Harvard University.
But the big picture that emerges is clear. Variants of the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil are becoming established in the United States, which emphasizes the need for people to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread, he said.
“The top-line message is fairly consistent. The variants of concern are becoming more prevalent, and it’s a constant vigilance over the coming weeks, despite vaccine deployments ahead of schedule. “I insist,” Tsai said. “We’ve come a long way, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Globe staff Amanda Kaufman contributed to this report. For this report, we used materials from Globe News Agency.
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