New virus strain emerges in Florida

A contagious new strain of the coronavirus that has spread in Britain has been detected in a man in Florida, the state Department of Health said Thursday night.

“Florida has evidence of the first identified case of the UK COVID-19 variant in Martin County,” the department said in a Twitter post. “The individual is a male in his 20s with no history of travel. The Department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation.”

In another tweet, the department added, “Experts anticipate little to no impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The announcement came after reports that the strain, or variant, of the coronavirus also had been detected in Colorado and California. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that the variant is estimated to have first emerged in the United Kingdom in September.

“Preliminary epidemiologic indicators suggest that this variant is associated with increased transmissibility (i.e. more efficient and rapid transmission,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website said. “Currently there is no evidence to suggest that the variant has any impact on the severity of the disease or vaccine efficacy.”

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