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At least five COVID-19 variants are now circulating in Tennessee


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  State health officials report five COVID-19 variants have been detected in Tennessee.

As of Monday, state officials notethe most common variant by far is the strain first detected in Great Britain (B.1.1.7). The South African variant (B.1.351) is the least common, identified in just 14 Tennessee patients to date. Two variants were first identified in California (B.1.427/B1.429). A fifth variant is from Brazil (P.1).

All five variants fall into the Centers for Disease Control’s second highest risk rating, called “Variant of Concern.” That designation is defined as variants that are more easily transmitted, more resistant to existing vaccines, and can cause more severe illness. 

The third and most dangerous category is referred to as “Variant of Consequence.” That designation is defined as variants that cannot be reliably diagnosed, are significantly resistant to existing vaccines, and result in more serious disease and more common hospitalizations.

There are currently no variants of consequence reported in Tennessee.

The variant that has caused such widespread illness in Inida (B.1.617.2) has not yet been detected in Tennessee.

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