Third State Confirms Its First Case of Highly Infectious COVID-19 Variant

Third State Confirms Its First Case of Highly Infectious COVID-19 Variant
Seniors and first responders wait in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Lakes Regional Library in Fort Myers, Fla., on Dec. 30, 2020. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Florida has reported its first case of a CCP virus strain that was first discovered in the United Kingdom, which marks the third case of its kind in the country.

The Florida Department of Health said that a male in his 20s tested positive to the new UK variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The man had no recent history of travel.
“The Department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Twitter.

“At this time, experts anticipate little to no impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine,” it added.

The first two cases involving the new and potentially more contagious variant called B.1.1.7 were reported in Colorado on Tuesday and California on Wednesday.

Both cases were found in people who also had not recently traveled. The pattern suggests that there has been community spread of the variant in the United States.

Scientists believe the variant is more contagious than others previously identified but is no more severe in the symptoms it causes. They also believe that the vaccines now being distributed will be effective against it.

A second possible case in Colorado was being investigated, a state health official said on Tuesday.

Colorado’s chief medical officer, Dr. Eric France, said that researchers estimate the B.1.1.7 variant is 50–70 percent more contagious.

“Instead of only making two or three other people sick, you might actually spread it to four or five people,” France said, reported AP. “That means we’ll have more cases in our communities. Those number of cases will rise quickly and, of course, with more cases come more hospitalizations.”

In southern California, health officials said that a second person may have also been infected with the new variant.

It is not unexpected for viruses to mutate to new variants but the fear is that the mutations will become significant enough to resist the vaccines at some point.

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Dec. 30 that he is willing to take the vaccine for COVID-19 but has not done so because he is not in one of the groups prioritized to received the vaccine first.

According to the CDC, more than 12.4 million doses have been distributed and 2.7 million have been administered as of Dec. 30.