Florida remains number one in the country for the most cases of the COVID-19 variants.
What You Need To Know
- With 434 cases, Florida currently has the largest number of COVID-19 variant infections in the country
- Travelers coming to the state from many different areas could contribute to that, one expert says
- Florida is also looking very aggressively for variant infections, he said
With 434 reported cases, Florida by far has the most reported cases of COVID-19 variants in the U.S.
No other state even comes close.
Dr. Amesh Adalja with John Hopkins University says as Florida sees an increase in travelers, that of course could contribute.
But he said the CDC’s numbers don’t tell the full story.
“They (Florida) are more aggressively looking for the variants and that may play a part,” Adalja said.
He says that’s because not every state has the same capability to test for the variants.
Alvina Chu, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, agrees.
She said Florida has more of the genome sequencing labs needed to find the variant.
“We have a couple commercial labs that are operating in Florida that conduct genetic sequencing, so one part of that seeming disparity or volume is that we’re doing a lot of genetic sequencing here,” Chu said.
Right now there’s only 14 reported cases of the UK variant in Orange County.
Chu said officials feel the level of variant cases does not warrant more action than they’re already doing at this point.
“The detection of the variants is not really, shouldn’t really be quantifiable as to what precautions we should take,” she said.
But Adalja said just because we don’t have a clear picture of how widespread the variants are, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be fighting the spread of them tooth and nail in the Sunshine State.
“You’re going to see it out-compete the original version … We need to push our local officials to pull out all the stops, to have a war-like effort to get vaccines into people’s arms, with no excuses, because that’s how we stay ahead of this,” Adalja said.
When asked about the vaccine effort Monday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said while he believes it will happen very soon, they’ve gotten no indication from the state about when they’ll open up the vaccine to more demographics than just 65 and older.