SARS-CoV-2 Variants: How Many and How Dangerous?

March 30, 2021
Grace Halsey

The CDC defines 3 classes of SARS-CoV-2 variants: Variants of interest, of concern, and of high consequence. Find out more about the 8 variants now being closely observed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify SARS-CoV-2 variants in circulation in the United States as variants of interest, variants of concern, and variants of high consequence.

Each classification describes and identifies the variant in terms of its impact on critical SARS-CoV-2 countermeasures including vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Variants of interest in the US right now include the 2 identified in New York at the end of 2020; variants of concern to the CDC include those from the UK and South Africa.

The following slides summarize the most salient details on 8 SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest and concern to the CDC as of March 30, 2021. The CDC data are updated regularly.