Florida Is Third State to Report New Covid-19 Variant

Source: https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/covid-2020-12-31/card/nbMeHYddIqtaonItikDK

Florida health officials said late Thursday that they had detected a case of a new, fast-spreading variant of Covid-19 first identified in the U.K., making it the third state in the U.S. to report such a case.

The Florida Department of Health said the case had been found in a man in his 20s in Martin County, just north of Palm Beach. The department said the man had no history of travel. It offered no information about his condition.

Officials said they were working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the case.

On Tuesday, Colorado reported the first known case of the variant in the U.S., detecting it in a National Guardsman who had been assigned to an assisted-living facility to relieve sickened workers after an outbreak there.

Officials had identified a second guardsman who they said likely had the same variant, but said that it appeared sickened residents and staff had contracted the more traditional form of the virus.

California on Wednesday reported the second confirmed case in the U.S. of the new variant.

Studies have suggested that the new variant is more easily transmitted between people but isn’t necessarily any more virulent than the older form. It also doesn’t appear to be resistant to the newly rolled-out vaccines.

The CDC has said that it expected there would be additional cases identified in the U.S. in the coming days, but stressed that it is normal for viruses to change through mutations and that multiple versions of the virus had been documented over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

After being discovered in England, the U.K. imposed new restrictions across London and the surrounding areas of England. Several countries in Europe have implemented travel restrictions on the U.K., and the U.S. has mandated that travelers from the U.K. test negative for coronavirus within three days of arrival.