US reports over 470 cases of coronavirus variants
Washington, Feb 2 (IANS) More than 470 cases of the new coronavirus variants have been confirmed in at least 32 US states, according to the latest data by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the CDC data issued on Monday, vast majority of these cases, 467, were caused by the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was originally detected late last year in Britain, reports Xinhua news agency.
There were three cases of a strain initially detected in South Africa, called B.1.351, and one of the P.1 strain first found in Brazil.
These cases were identified based on the sampling of SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens, and do not represent the total number of coronavirus variant cases that may be circulating in the US, said the CDC.
The figure may not match numbers reported by states, territories, tribes, and local officials, it further warned.
Also on Monday, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a $230 million deal to ramp up production of the country’s first over-the-counter, at-home Covid-19 test.
“These are over-the-counter, self-performed test kits that can detect COVID with roughly 95 percent accuracy within 15 minutes,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, told reporters.
In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration authorised Australian company Ellume’s Covid-19 test for emergency use.
This antigen test, sold over-the-counter, can be done at home using a nasal swab, dropper and processing fluid.
The pandemic has so far infected a total of 26,307,963 people across the US and killed 443,186 others, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s latest update on Tuesday morning.
January 2021 was by far the deadliest month of the pandemic in the country, with over 95,000 Covid-19 deaths, surpassing December’s total of over 77,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.