U.S. States With Most Cases of U.K. COVID Variant Shown in CDC Map

Approximately 122 confirmed cases of the fast-spreading COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the U.K., have been recorded across 20 U.S. states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up from 76 on January 13.

The B.1.1.7 variant, which was first reported in December, has quickly become the dominant strain of the virus in England, and the CDC has warned that it could also become the predominant variant in the U.S. by March.

According to the CDC, as of January 18, 46 cases of the U.K. variant have been recorded in Florida, and 40 cases have been recorded in California.

Colorado has had six recorded cases of the U.K. strain, there have been five in Minnesota, and four cases have been reported in Indiana and in New York.

Connecticut, Maryland and Texas have all recorded two cases, while a single case has been reported in Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

However, since these figures are based on positive test samples, it's possible that the U.K. variant has spread to a significantly larger number of people.

The B.1.1.7 variant is believed to have first emerged in the U.K. in September, and while it is more contagious than the original strain of the virus, there is no evidence yet to suggest that it causes more severe illness.

However, as a report released by the CDC on January 15, explains, "a higher rate of transmission will lead to more cases, increasing the number of persons overall who need clinical care, exacerbating the burden on an already strained health care system, and resulting in more deaths."

The report adds: "Increased transmissibility also means that higher than anticipated vaccination coverage must be attained to achieve the same level of disease control to protect the public compared with less transmissible variants."

On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an order rescinding COVID-19 travel restrictions that had been imposed on foreign citizens traveling from Brazil and European countries, including the U.K.

However, President-elect Joe Biden has expressed his intention to quickly reverse the decision, with his spokesperson Jen Psaki saying: "With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel."

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health revealed on Sunday that the state's first recorded case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 was found in a Boston resident who had returned to the city from the U.K., having tested negative before traveling back to the U.S.

"The individual was interviewed by contact tracers at the time the initial positive result was received, and close contacts were identified. She is being re-interviewed by public health officials now that the variant has been identified as the cause of illness," it said.

People are being encouraged to continue to comply with public health measures, including vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, to limit the spread of the virus.

A healthcare worker administers the COVID-19 vaccine
A healthcare worker prepares a person's arm for a COVID-19 vaccine at Gillette Stadium on January 15, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. More than 120 cases of the fast-spreading U.K. variant of the virus have now been recorded in the U.S., across 20 states. Scott Eisen/Getty Images