FL now has 500 cases of the contagious U.K. ‘variant,’ the most in the nation; 2,102 cases in total

Novel coronavirus SARS CoV2, which causes COVID-19. Meanwhile, new COVID mutations called variants are now spreading across the U.S. Microphotography by National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Florida now has 500 cases of the contagious United Kingdom variant that has been spreading across the nation — far more than any state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday evening.

The so-called B.1.1.7 COVID variant is more transmissible and potentially more deadly, and it has proliferated across 43 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. As of Thursday, there are 2,102 total cases of the U.K. variant.

The CDC also tracks two other variants, the South Africa and Brazil variants.

The South Africa variant also is spreading — now in 14 states and Washington, D.C., but not in Florida, the CDC reported.

The Brazil variant is now in 5 states, including one case in Florida.

(Keep in mind that the cases identified are a sampling of specimens and do not represent the total number of variant cases that may be circulating in the United States. People often use the word strain and mutation to describe what’s been happening with COVID, but the word variant is the most accurate.)

The CDC has raised concerns about the variants, with CNBC reporting that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky recently said this:

“New, highly transmissible Covid-19 variants ‘stand to reverse’ the nation’s control of the pandemic and could ‘undermine all of our efforts’ against the disease if the virus is left to proliferate in different parts of the globe.

Whether the vaccines will work for all or some of the mutated COVID variants is being studied closely.

And given the mutations, health experts have cautioned people to take measures such as masking and double-masking, physical distancing, and quarantining.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been against a statewide mask mandate.

Other states with large numbers of U.K. variant cases are: Michigan, 336; California, 204; New York, 136 and Georgia, 119.

You can see other states here on the CDC variant map.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.