The global health crisis continues to affect Florida and the rest of the country.
It has been exactly one year since Florida first reported COVID-19 cases in the state. Now, vaccine rollout is ongoing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring several variants of the original virus.
According to the CDC, one case of the B.1.351 variant of COVID-19, originated in South Africa, has been reported in Florida. The data does not make clear where in Florida the variant was discovered but it is the 15th state to report a case of the variant.
The variant first appeared in the United States in January. Like the other two major variants, B.1.1.7 from the United Kingdom and P.1 from Brazil, the South African variant spreads more quickly than the initial virus.
At this time, early studies of the Moderna vaccine show that it may be less effective against this variant but additional studies are needed. There is also no present evidence that the South African variant is more deadly.
Florida has 599 cases of the United Kingdom variant, the most of any state in the country, according to CDC data sampling. Additionally, the state has five cases of the Brazil variant. We will be keeping an eye on this developing situation.