Florida Reports First Case of More Contagious Coronavirus Strain

LOS ANGELES (April 1, 2020) Ensign Patrick Coyle, from Tampa, Fla., writes down patient information aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) April 1. Mercy deployed in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. …
Navy Medicine/Flickr

A Florida man has contracted the new, more contagious strain of the Chinese coronavirus, which originated in the United Kingdom, the Florida Department of Health announced Thursday.

Health officials affirmed the first case of the new strain in Martin County. He is a male in his twenties who reportedly has “no history of travel.”

“The Department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation,” the Florida Department of Health said, adding that experts “anticipate little to no impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine”:

The variant virus strain has also been identified in two other states, Colorado and California. Similarly, the individuals who contracted the new strain in both the Golden State and Centennial State did not have recent travel histories, either. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), upon making the announcement this week, noted that there is “no indication at all” that the new strain “increases the virulence” of the illness.

“Moreover, he said, it seemed that the new strain would not re-infect people who had already had the old strain, and was not resistant to the vaccines that are being rolled out across the U.S.,” as Breitbart News reported.

Like the man in Florida, the man who contracted the new strain in Colorado’s Elbert County is also in his 20s.

Florida is in the midst of its vaccine rollout, as are other states, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is prioritizing senior citizens given the state’s sizeable elderly population, a more vulnerable demographic for contracting the illness.

“We don’t have enough vaccines for all four million-plus senior citizens in Florida,” DeSantis said this week, stressing that seniors, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers will remain the initial priority.

DeSantis told reporters he is also willing to take the vaccine but will not jump ahead of more vulnerable populations despite his status as an elected official.

“I’m willing to take it, but I am not the priority. They’re the priority,” he said. “I’m under 45, and so the people under 45 are not going to be first in line for this.”

“I want my parents, our grandparents to be able to get it. Granted, I’m an elected official but whoop de doo,” he added. “Let’s focus on where the risk is”:

Nearly 2.8 million people in the U.S. have received their first vaccination, according to a December 30 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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