Florida getting nearly $13 million to fight COVID-19 variants

Part of $1.7 billion investment by Biden administration

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Florida will receive almost $13 million from the federal government in early May as part of a $1.7 billion investment to battle the spread of COVID-19 variants, the Biden administration announced Friday.

Florida is receiving $12,699,436 — the third-largest total of any state, behind California ($17,091,936) and Texas ($15,555,044).

The White House says that is the initial round of funding and that more will come afterward.

“The original strain of COVID-19 comprises only about half of all cases in America today,” the administration said in a news release. “New and potentially dangerous strains of the virus make up the other half. In order to improve the detection, monitoring, and mitigation of these COVID-19 variants, the Biden Administration is rapidly investing $1.7 billion from the American Rescue Plan to help states and other jurisdictions more effectively fight these mutations.”

Florida has long had the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House says the money allocated will help states and the CDC better “detect and track variants by scaling genomic sequencing efforts.”

“In early February, U.S. laboratories were only sequencing about 8,000 COVID-19 strains per week. Since then, the rate of sequencing has increased substantially, strengthening the country’s ability to detect and respond to emerging and more contagious COVID-19 strains, like the variants currently sweeping through the Midwest and parts of the East Coast,” the news release says.

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