Spring break trips to Florida could spread variants, experts warn 


Florida is reporting the most coronavirus variant cases in the U.S. as travelers flock to the state for spring break, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Some public health experts have expressed concerns that these visitors may bring the more contagious variants back to their home states once their vacation is over.   

As of March 11, Florida reported 690 cases of the U.K. variant known as B.1.1.7, five cases of the Brazil variant P.1 and one case of the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa, according to the CDC. For reference, Michigan has the second-highest tally at 562 cases of the UK variant and one case of the South Africa variant. 

Florida also tests COVID-19 samples for mutations at a much lower rate than other states, leading health experts to suggest that the state's current tally is likely an undercount.

"There's definitely a concern that the spring breakers who are traveling to Florida might bring home more than just the souvenir shot glass this year," Matthew Wellington, public health campaigns director for the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group, told the Orlando Sentinel. "We know this virus thrives on people traveling."

Other experts said Florida's vaccination efforts could help prevent another surge in hospitalizations if community spread increases.

More articles on public health:

Biden to states: Open vaccine eligibility to all adults by May — 5 speech takeaways
mRNA vaccines effective at reducing asymptomatic infection risk, Mayo Clinic research finds
COVID-19 death rates by state: March 12

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