At least 76 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in the UK have been found in 12 US states, according to data posted Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This includes 32 cases in California, 22 in Florida, five in Minnesota, four in New York, four in Colorado, two in Connecticut, two in Maryland, and one case each in Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Georgia.
The 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 the CDC. It has been found in more than 50 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.