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Commun Biol ; 5(1): 439, 2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1839575


SARS-CoV-2 variants shaped the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discourse around effective control measures. Evaluating the threat posed by a new variant is essential for adapting response efforts when community transmission is detected. In this study, we compare the dynamics of two variants, Alpha and Iota, by integrating genomic surveillance data to estimate the effective reproduction number (Rt) of the variants. We use Connecticut, United States, in which Alpha and Iota co-circulated in 2021. We find that the Rt of these variants were up to 50% larger than that of other variants. We then use phylogeography to show that while both variants were introduced into Connecticut at comparable frequencies, clades that resulted from introductions of Alpha were larger than those resulting from Iota introductions. By monitoring the dynamics of individual variants throughout our study period, we demonstrate the importance of routine surveillance in the response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genomics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States/epidemiology
Cell Rep Med ; 3(4): 100583, 2022 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735052


The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant rose to dominance in mid-2021, likely propelled by an estimated 40%-80% increased transmissibility over Alpha. To investigate if this ostensible difference in transmissibility is uniform across populations, we partner with public health programs from all six states in New England in the United States. We compare logistic growth rates during each variant's respective emergence period, finding that Delta emerged 1.37-2.63 times faster than Alpha (range across states). We compute variant-specific effective reproductive numbers, estimating that Delta is 63%-167% more transmissible than Alpha (range across states). Finally, we estimate that Delta infections generate on average 6.2 (95% CI 3.1-10.9) times more viral RNA copies per milliliter than Alpha infections during their respective emergence. Overall, our evidence suggests that Delta's enhanced transmissibility can be attributed to its innate ability to increase infectiousness, but its epidemiological dynamics may vary depending on underlying population attributes and sequencing data availability.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , New England/epidemiology , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2/genetics