At least 52 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom have been identified in the United States, according to the CDC on Wednesday.
This includes 26 cases in California, 22 cases in Florida, two cases in Colorado, and one case in Georgia and New York.
CDC says this does not represent the total number of cases circulating in the US, but rather those that have been found by analyzing positive samples. The agency cautions that its numbers, which are expected to update on Tuesdays and Thursdays, may not immediately match those of state and local health departments.
While the variant appears to spread more easily than Covid-19, there's no evidence that it's more deadly or causes more severe disease, according to CDC.
Experts suspect there could be many more cases in the US and have criticized the country for not doing more genetic sequencing of virus samples to surveil for mutations. On Sunday, a CDC official told CNN the agency plans to more than double the number of samples it sequences over the following two weeks -- with a target of 6,500 per week.
The earliest known US sample that carried the current version of the variant was taken on December 19 in Florida, according to the genomic database GISAID. However, collection dates are not available for all samples.