MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With 46 cases, Florida has more instances of the UK COVID-19 variant than any other state in the U.S., according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
California is second on the list with 40 reported cases. Colorado is third with six, according to the CDC’s data.READ MORE: 'Life Ended Too Soon': Endangered Amur Tiger Dies After Artificial Insemination Procedure At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Nationwide, there are 122 cases, compared to 52 earlier this month.
The U.K. variant, also known as B.1.1.7., is thought to be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original strain, however, the CDC says there is no evidence that it’s more deadly.
“This new strain is more contagious, and that means more people will get infected,” said Dr. Frederick Southwick, a professor of medicine and a specialist in infectious diseases at the University of Florida. “If we had a problem, we’re going to have more of a problem now.”
The first known case in Florida of the new variant was disclosed by health officials on New Year’s Eve, when officials identified a Martin County man with no known history of travel as the state’s first case of the variant.READ MORE: Florida Bill Would Reduce Prison Time, Save Millions In Taxpayer Dollars
On Jan. 4, South African health officials announced they also detected a new, seemingly more contagious strain but for now, the UK variant was the only new strain discovered in Florida.
In addition, scientists are confident so far that the current Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will still work against the known variant strains.
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The Florida Department of Health has not identified which counties where the variant cases have been found.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
Florida is part of a consortium led by the CDC involving 37 state and local public health laboratories, in an effort to track the variant as it becomes more prevalent.