Florida Studies New Contagious COVID-19 Pressure – CBS St John
MIAMI (CBSSt John) – A contagious new strain of the coronavirus that has spread across the UK was discovered in a man in Florida, the Department of Health said Thursday evening.
“Florida has evidence of the first identified case of the UK variant of COVID-19 in Martin County,” the department said in a Twitter post. “The individual is a man in his twenties with no travel history. The department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage everyone to continue to practice COVID-19 mitigation. “
While there is reason to hope that 2021 will finally mark the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States officially hit 20 million cases of COVID-19 on the first day of the new year.
To put the extent of this failure in perspective, we have most cases in the world.
The second worst in the world is India, and while there are four times as many people as us, we have almost twice as many cases as them.
In the US, California is the worst of the 50 states.
585 deaths were reported in a single day on Friday and their hospitals are on the brink of disaster, according to a health official.
Here in South Florida, cases are on the rise and the positivity rate stays above nine percent.
And all without knowing the effects of holiday gatherings.
Exhausted healthcare workers will start in 2021, similar to late 2020, trying to save lives in hospitals that are home to many coronavirus patients.
Southern California hospitals are so crowded that some are starting to ration treatments.
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St John-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says, “It’s a good reminder that this virus isn’t a piece of cake.”
Finding variants is key to stopping new clusters, but the US is doing only a fraction of the genetic sequencing required, says James Lu, president of Helix, a company that helps track the presence of this new strain.
“We’re probably under-tested, so we’ll likely have some spread of it in the community itself.”
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist who has been on the forefront since the pandemic began, says the new variant is 50 percent more contagious and that concern is growing – because it is spreading faster.
“If you think about the reality of this variant, it has 14 mutations. Of these 14 mutations, 3 are particularly bad because they change the way the spike in the protein works and the shape of the spike, ”she adds.
“First, it clicks into place better than it gets into our cells more easily. Another change is that it can replicate faster in our cells. That means any person who receives this will have many more viruses to share with others. And the virus they divide is more likely to get into your cells and spread damage. ”
Health experts predict an explosion in Covid cases – in part due to New Years gatherings and people traveling over the holidays.
“It is very important that people realize that if we let a wild virus spread, you not only increase the risk of individuals, but also make it easier for them to create more variants.”
(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. Do not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material. Florida News Service contributed to this report.)
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