coronavirus florida

Florida Identifies First Case of UK COVID-19 Variant

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Florida has identified its first case of the new and more infectious strain of COVID-19.

The patient is a man in his 20s from Martin County, according to the Florida Department of Health. He has no history of travel.

"The Department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation," the department tweeted.

The new strain of COVID-19 is up to 70 percent more contagious than what we've already seen. The mutation changes the virus' spike protein so it can more easily dock onto human cells.

However, it does not appear to make people sicker or the illness deadlier.

"But it does mean that if you're in a situation where someone has this virus, your odds now of getting infected have now gone up," said Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert and epidemiologist at Florida International University.

Health officials in California identified the state's first case of the new strain on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Colorado health officials confirmed the nation's first case of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant that was initially discovered in the United Kingdom.

The new and more contagious COVID strain from the UK has already been found in the United States. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports
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