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Florida up to 147 cases of COVID-19 variant

COVID-19 variant reaches Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The state of Florida has now verified at least 147 cases of the COVID-19 variant that emerged from Britain and is believed to be a more contagious strain.

That new total, posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is up from 92 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Florida last week.

The state had just 46 cases two weeks ago, and infectious disease experts have said that this variant could overtake the now dominant version within weeks.

Florida’s number of confirmed variant cases is the most in the county, with California nearest at 113.

In total, the U.S. has 467 confirmed cases of the British variant across 32 states.

Florida’s health department has said that it is doing more sequencing to actively search for variant cases, which helps explain why it has the highest confirmed total.

Locally, that research is being done at the University of Miami. And the highest concentration of the confirmed variant cases last week was in South Florida.

Florida still hasn’t identified any cases of the South African (B.1.351) or Brazilian (P.1) variants.

South Carolina has two confirmed cases of the South African strain and Maryland has one. Minnesota has the lone case of the Brazilian variant in the United States, according to the CDC.

The more the virus spreads, the more opportunities it has to mutate, raising fear that it will ultimately render vaccines ineffective.

At this point, experts have said that the current vaccines should still carry some level of defense against the variant now spreading in Florida.

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