Florida reports 6,500 new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations drop below 4,000 statewide

Vaccines can be adapted to work on COVID-19 variants, doctors say

Florida reports first case of P.1 virus variant first detected in Brazil

ORLANDO, Fla. – With the vaccine rollout well underway and 50 million doses administered across the U.S. we’re left to wonder how will the vaccine change to help with new variants of COVID-19.

According to health officials, tweaking a vaccine is a process that should be easier than coming up with the original shots.

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COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna are made with new technology that’s easy to update. The so-called mRNA vaccines use a piece of genetic code for the spike protein that coats the coronavirus, so your immune system can learn to recognize and fight the real thing.

If a variant with a mutated spike protein crops up that the original vaccine can’t recognize, companies would swap out that piece of genetic code for a better match — if and when regulators decide that’s necessary.

Overall the process would be similar to what already happens with flu vaccine.

Want to hear more about how researchers can adapt their vaccines to new variants? Click or tap here to read more.

[READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida reports 7,000 new COVID-19 cases as Johnson & Johnson vaccine clears another hurdle]

Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Feb. 25.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 6,576 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,892,301 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1.

Deaths

Florida reported 140 new virus-related deaths Thursday, raising the death toll to 31,018. This number includes the 540 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Thursday afternoon, there were currently 3,957 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since March, 78,744 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 272 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Thursday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 5.23% Wednesday of the 125,826 tests reported to the state. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

As of Thursday afternoon, 2,838,326 people have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. The FDOH also reports that 1,539,770 people have received their second shot.

See COVID-19 data for the Central Florida region below:

CountyCasesNew casesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard33,5781491,991167360
Flagler5,877453271892
Lake24,3421141,250125443
Marion27,382811,71357802
Orange113,3303552,37171,09115
Osceola36,5211341,27414352
Polk56,5831744,334111,131-2
Seminole26,967981,11624223
Sumter7,9463850562351
Volusia34,2401501,71386505

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