Florida has second-highest number of COVID-19 variant cases in US, data shows

ORLANDO, Fla. — More cases of the contagious COVID-19 variant in Florida may affect the state case numbers.

Florida is averaging more than 12,000 cases a day, even as cases and hospitalizations start to decline.

An area doctor said this is not the time to relax, especially because of the four new variants of COVID-19.

Watch: All Publix COVID-19 vaccine appointments booked: Here’s your next opportunity to get an appointment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking one of them that’s been making its way through the United States.

Florida has the second-highest number of cases confirmed with the B-1-17 variant. Now there are up to 50 cases.

The variant was found during genomic sequencing of a small fraction of positive specimens that are sent through the testing process.

The earliest variants in Florida were found in people with no travel history, which means community spread was already underway by the time people got tested.

Watch: Here’s where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in your county

The variants are being closely watched because they’re all more contagious, more deadly or might not be stopped by the vaccine, unlike the initial COVID-19 virus.

And that could lead to an even worse spread, similar to which occurred in the U.K.

Over the past week, Florida has been averaging 12,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

But the numbers on any given day do not give a complete picture of how Florida is reacting to the pandemic.

Watch: Questions raised after vaccines shift from hospitals to county-run sites

The new case numbers have been so high for so long that people have almost become desensitized.

At Florida’s peak, the state was averaging 16,000 new cases a day. In the summer, that would’ve frightened many people.

But things have changed, and people are growing tired of pandemic precautions. This is why Florida saw a significant surge in cases from Halloween through the New Year as people gathered for the holiday season.

But because cases have fallen recently, hospitalization rates are also down.