By Marsha Mullings, MPH
20.8 million cases, 353,628 deaths
1.4million cases, 63,505 total hospitalizations, 22,090 deaths
140,369 cases, 7,517 total hospitalizations, 1,882 deaths
Update on new variant of coronavirus
A new variant of the coronavirus, designated B117, has been identified in the United Kingdom. It is reported to be 50-70% more contagious than the “original” coronavirus. This suggests that the new variant has the potential to spread more extensively in communities and to result in even more cases and associated illnesses. Public health experts and scientists are studying and closely monitoring this coronavirus variant. Following are new details, reported as of December 31, 2020.
This variant has been identified in America. The new coronavirus variant has been identified in 33 countries, including the United States and Canada. On December 31, 2020, the first case of the new variant was identified in Colorado. The carrier was a male in his 20s, a member of the National Guard, with no reported history of travel.
Variant found in four US states. As of January 2, 2021, three additional states have identified cases with the new coronavirus variant, bringing to four the number of states reporting this new variant. In addition to Colorado, cases have been identified in California, New York, and Florida. In California, a San Diego County male in his 30s with no history of travel, has been identified as a confirmed carrier of the new coronavirus variant. On Monday, New York announced its first case of the new coronavirus variant. The case is a male in his 60s, with no known travel history. In Florida, a male in his 20s, from Martin County, has been identified as a carrier.
New coronavirus variant circulating in southern Florida. The Martin County, Florida man identified as a carrier of the new variant has no reported history of travel outside the US. Martin County is adjacent to, and north of Palm Beach County. It is likely that the new strain is already circulating in Martin County and adjacent counties, which suggests that South Florida may already have this new variant in communities here.
Scientists remain on high alert regarding this mutated coronavirus. It is circulating in southern Florida. To reduce the chance of infection with this or any strain of coronavirus, social distancing, wearing a mask when out in public, and avoiding crowded indoor locations are critical.
For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention, visit www.FloridaHealth.org; coronavirus.jhu.edu; cdc.gov