At least 72 cases of a variant first identified in the UK have been found in 10 US states, according to data posted Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This includes at least 32 cases in California, 22 cases in Florida, five cases in Minnesota, four cases in New York, three cases in Colorado, two cases in Connecticut, and one case each in Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Georgia.
CDC says this does not represent the total number of cases circulating in the US, but rather just those that have been found by analyzing positive samples. The agency cautions that its numbers may not immediately match those of state and local health departments.
While the variant appears to spread more easily, there's no evidence that it's any more deadly or causes more severe disease, according to CDC. The variant has also been identified in nearly four dozen countries worldwide.
Experts suspect there could be many more cases in the country and have criticized the US for not doing more genetic sequencing of virus samples to surveil for mutations. Earlier this month, a CDC official told CNN the agency plans to more than double the number of samples it sequences by mid-January — with a target of 6,500 per week.