covid-19 variants

Florida's COVID-19 Variant Cases Continue to Rise as State Has Most in US: CDC

Florida has more than 1,000 more variant cases than the next closest state, Michigan

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Florida's COVID-19 variant cases continue to rise as the state leads the nation in the number of cases caused by variants, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC figures released Sunday showed 2,274 cases of the U.K. variant B.1.1.7 in Florida, along with 42 cases of the Brazil variant P.1 and 14 cases of the South Africa variant B.1.351.

The next closest state to Florida, Michigan, has 1,242 variant cases reported, according to the CDC.

CDC officials say the variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.

Officials said although early data suggests that the vaccines may work against some variants, they could be less effective against others.

Florida has more than 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The CDC projects that the B.1.1.7 variant, which is 50% more transmissible compared to SARS-CoV-2 and potentially more deadly, could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by the end of March.

Increased travel could bolster B.1.1.7's spread, which is a particular concern in Florida where out-of-state spring break visitors could take the virus back to their local communities, said Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida.

"There's no doubt that there are lots of people who have come in from out of state. That happens every year for spring break," Prins told CNBC. "And then the concern is what's being brought back to their own state. Are they going to bring back the variant?"

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