Health officials in Illinois have confirmed nearly 8,300 cases of coronavirus caused by variant strains of the virus, including more than 5,500 caused by a strain that originated in the United Kingdom.
According to the latest data published by the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 8,282 cases of coronavirus have been linked to five different variant strains that have been detected in the state during the pandemic.
Of those cases, 5,575 have been linked to the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and was first detected in the United States in Dec. 2020. The variant has been revealed to spread more quickly and easily than other variants, and UK researchers believe that it could cause an increased risk of death, although IDPH officials say those findings still require further verification.
Officials say that 2,101 cases of COVID have been linked to the P.1 variant, which emerged in Brazil in January. The variant’s mutations could make it more difficult for antibodies to fight it, according to researchers, and it was first detected in the U.S. in the same month.
A total of 511 COVID cases have been linked to the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants, both of which were first detected in California last summer, and 95 cases of the B.1.351 variant, first detected in South Africa in Oct. 2020, have also been identified by state officials.
Officials caution residents that the variants could potentially spread more easily than other strains of COVID, but researchers believe that COVID vaccines are still largely effective against the mutations.