By now you’ve heard that coronavirus variants that cause COVID-19 have emerged in different parts of the world. It’s a common phenomenon, as viruses often change through mutation. As of three days ago, coronavirus variants had been detected in eight states. We don’t know much in terms of what this means going forward, but scientists are racing to learn if these new variants cause more severe or milder disease, whether they spread more easily from person to person, whether they respond to the medications we use to treat COVID, and whether the effectiveness of the vaccines decreases.