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COVID-19 variant: Florida has almost half of known U.S. cases

A Pfizer study suggests vaccine works against the COVID-19 variant. At least 22 cases of the variant have been reported in Florida, the CDC says.
A Pfizer study suggests vaccine works against the COVID-19 variant. At least 22 cases of the variant have been reported in Florida, the CDC says.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control says Florida has nearly half of the known cases in the United States of a mutated and likely more contagious strain of the coronavirus.

This news comes as Florida again broke its previous single-day record of coronavirus cases, adding nearly 20,000 infected people to its caseload on Thursday.

The variant that emerged in Britain was detected last week in a Martin County man in his 20s.

The CDC says Florida now has 22 cases of the mutated virus. California has 26 cases, Colorado has 2 and New York and Georgia have each reported 1 case of the new variant.

The CDC’s map of cases caused by variants can be seen by clicking here.

The map does not break down counties or specific locations within the state that the variant has been reported.

Highly contagious COVID-19 variant reported in Harris County

Florida has broken its record for the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases two days in a row, with state health officials reporting 19,816 additional cases Thursday after 17,783 new cases Wednesday.

Miami-Dade County accounted for 3,373 of the new cases confirmed in Florida on Thursday.

The World Health Organization says scientists first detected the British variant in September. Doctors are still researching the variant, but there is belief that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still effective.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious diseases expert at Florida International University, told Local 10 News earlier this week that studies comparing the blood from people who have recovered from the original strain with the variant show that those who developed good antibodies had antibodies that also seem to neutralize the new strain.

“Based on that, we are pretty confident that the vaccines currently, with the current new variant from the UK, will still be very effective,” she said. “We have to do studies with the people who have had the vaccines to be 100% certain about that, but it looks very, very good since we already know that these vaccines are producing a better quality immunity than even that from having had the virus.”

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About the Authors:

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.