Florida, there's another COVID-19 Variant to worry about

Evie M.

If the Delta Variant wasn't concerning enough, the Colombian variant has come to South Florida. According to the CEO of Jackson Health Carlos Migoya, "10% of COVID-positive patients whose results are being sequenced at the University of Miami’s pathology lab have a strain that originated out of Colombia."

Originally the Colombia variant was spreading "quite a bit" through Colombia, but hadn't shown up anywhere else. Until the last week, that is. "10% of our patients had the Colombian variant," says Carlos Migoya. "Why? Because of the travel between Colombia and Miami.”

Lab reports show that the Delta Variant makes up 49% of cases, the Brazilian Variant makes up 26%, and the Colombian Variant makes up 10%.

Despite the "alarming" rise in COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths, according to US surgeon Vivek Murthy, some Floridians aren't too concerned.

“We are not afraid of it,” said traveler Johanna Castillo, who'd come home to Florida from Colombia. “We are already vaccinated.”

“The challenge in Florida, and in far too many states, is [that] we still don’t have vaccination rates high enough, and in some pockets we have actually vaccination rates quite low,” says Murthy.

Jennifer Nuzzo, a epidemiologist for Johns Hopkins says: “The more people we leave unprotected from vaccines, the more opportunities there are for variants to emerge."

So what is the best way to protect ourselves from these new threats? The same rules set by the CDC that we've all been following will do just fine. Even if you're already vaccinated, officials are urging others to:

  • Social distance (6 ft. apart) and continue to wear masks in public
  • Refrain from touching your face
  • Wash your hands multiple times a day for at least twenty seconds and after eating, sneezing, etc.
  • Stay home if you're feeling under the weather and get tested if you're concerned you may have COVID-19.

What are your thoughts about the new variant?




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