Jan. 1 (UPI) – Florida was the third state to document a person infected with the British variant of the coronavirus, indicating the spread of the more infectious strain.
Florida joins Colorado and California as states that have identified at least one person with the variant.
It is something that the best infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expected. He said the variant, which is said to be 70% times more contagious than the strain that caused the pandemic, could already be in several states.
The Florida Department of Health posted a Twitter post about his diagnosis on Thursday evening.
Florida has evidence of the first identified case of the UK variant of COVID-19 in Martin County. The person 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. – Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) January 1, 2021
The variant prompted British officials to launch their strictest coronavirus lockdown in the country’s south-west, including London, earlier this month.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the US reported 227,315 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with 3,419 deaths, still the largest in the world.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, 83.5 million cases have been identified worldwide, including 19.9 million in the United States. The cases have resulted in 1.8 million deaths worldwide and 345,013 deaths in the US.
In California, more than 21,000 COVID-19 patients are admitting hospital beds with 4,500 in intensive care units.
Dr. Ahmad Kamal of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said he was seeing a severe outbreak. “We are clearly not from the forest,” said Kamal. “We are in the middle of the forest.”
Los Angeles hit a daily high for COVID-19 deaths in the last three days of 2020, with 291 deaths recorded on Thursday. The staggering number has forced undertakers to turn away families because they are at full capacity and left hospital morgues looking for space.
“We are out of ambulances and our responses to emergency calls are getting longer,” said Cathy Chidester, director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Services Agency.
In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp announced that the Georgia World Congress Center, the state’s largest congressional facility, will be admitting overflow patients starting next week as hospitals have reached capacity.
Mississippi and Louisiana reached their largest single case since the pandemic began on Wednesday.