Infectious disease specialist explains why Florida has most cases of COVID-19 variant

CDC reports 46 cases of COVID-19 variant in Florida

More than a third of the cases of the COVID-19 variant in the United States are in the state of Florida, according to the CDC.
More than a third of the cases of the COVID-19 variant in the United States are in the state of Florida, according to the CDC.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – More than a third of the cases of the COVID-19 variant in the United States are in the state of Florida, according to the CDC.

The CDC said 46 cases have been recorded in Florida, compared to 122 nationwide.

“It’s the old cockroach in the kitchen analogy, you know if you see one cockroach the chances are there are hundreds behind the kitchen cabinets; same thing here,” Thomas Unnasch said.

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Unnasch is the co-director of the Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease Research in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida.

He said while he’s expecting to see case numbers peak no matter what, he said the variant could push the peak even higher.

“We may end up peaking at, you know, three times the number of cases we have now, maybe 35 to 40,000 cases, new cases a day, and it could come very much more quickly because the variant is much more contagious,” Unnasch said.

In terms of the new variant, Dr. Antonio Crespo, an infectious disease specialist at Orlando Health, explained what he attributes Florida to having the highest numbers too.

“We are still investigating the reasons for that, but Florida being a place where there’s a lot of people coming from all around the world, and all around the country, it is easier for this to happen,” Dr. Crespo said.

While that investigation continues, Unnasch fears cases connected to the variant will continue to go up.

“What we really want to do is try and get through this peak and get to the point where we can vaccinate everybody before this new variant can really take hold, and really start to explode our case numbers and overwhelm our hospital systems,” Unnasch said.

Dr. Crespo told News 6 that both vaccines are effective against the new variant.


About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.