State Watch

Cases of coronavirus variants spiking in Florida

The number of COVID-19 cases in Florida stemming from the virus’s variants has more than doubled over the past two weeks, according to a report released Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new report shows Florida having a total of 2,330 variant cases — the highest in the country. On Thursday, 1,075 variant cases were reported. An additional 1,255 were included in Sunday’s report, USA Today noted.

The vast majority of variant cases in Florida, as well as the U.S. in general, came from the B.1.1.7 strain, first seen in the United Kingdom.

Florida also experienced a doubling of P.1, a variant initially recorded in Brazil, for a total of 42 cases.

On March 20, Florida became the third state to reach 2 million coronavirus infections, behind California and Texas.

Florida has relatively lax coronavirus restrictions, which have sent tourists and spring breakers from around the nation flocking to the Sunshine State. Notably, a surge of spring breakers descended on Miami in recent weeks, causing Democratic Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber to issue a state of emergency.

Last week, city commissioners voted to extend the nightly curfew of 8 p.m. in the city’s Entertainment District through April 12.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, on Sunday warned that it’s too soon to be easing coronavirus restrictions, despite widespread vaccination efforts.

“What we’re likely seeing is because of things like spring break and pulling back on the mitigation methods that you’ve seen now. Several states have done that,” he said.

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus COVID-19 Fauci Florida spring break Variant Variants of SARS-CoV-2
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