In September of 2020, UK researchers noticed a brand new mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 virus—a single new variant amongst 1000’s of others. Dubbed the B.1.1.7 variant, it shortly proved to unfold extra virulently, and be much more lethal, than the unique “GV” pressure.
By December, Britain’s rocketing B.1.1.7 ranges triggered mass hospitalizations throughout the nation. By February, 96% of COVID instances in England have been the B.1.1.7 variant, and it had unfold to 59 international locations round the world. Right this moment, B.1.1.7 is likely to be the most typical COVID pressure on the planet.
However what does this unfold seem like? A new data visualization by Reuters will stroll you thru B.1.1.7’s relentless international unfold. You start with a single case noticed in Kent. And by scrolling down the web page, you’ll be able to see as counties throughout England shortly develop into contaminated, too.
These infections look one thing like measles on the map, with little purple dots overlaying the nation. That’s, till these dots morph into skyscrapers. As a result of every purple dot is mostly a bar graph, representing how many individuals are contaminated with B.1.1.7 in that space.
As soon as we see the new variant unfold throughout England, the visualization zooms out to disclose the remainder of the globe. Portugal, Denmark, and the UAE document instances in early November—proper round the time that Pfizer and Moderna each introduced their miraculous vaccines. By the finish of December 2020, B.1.1.7 is international. From then on, the purple skyscrapers merely develop.
The world has largely misplaced the battle to B.1.1.7, with folks dying from the variant on daily basis. It has taken over by squeezing into a superbly timed window the place humanity had created the vaccines, however not but mass produced them with the intention to cease it.
Nevertheless, it’s price reiterating that we do have the vaccines to cease it. The Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna vaccines have all demonstrated effectiveness at neutralizing B.1.1.7. Which is why we have to proceed pushing now, greater than ever, to vaccinate as many individuals as shortly as we are able to, earlier than these stronger COVID strains unfold, or they mutate into one thing even worse.