Doctors tracking new COVID-19 variants in Florida

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The delta variant of COVID-19 is taking a major toll on Florid, but as it continues to spread across the state, there are now two new variants that have arrived here in Florida and have health officials concerned.

“One of them is called Lambda, and it’s been named as a variant of interest by the WHO, and it’s the dominant variant in South America and Peru” said Michael Teng, associate professor of the College of Medicine Internal Medicine at USF Health.

The lambda variant has also made its way to Florida and 43 other US states. Experts are closely watching this variant because a Japanese study found that it may be more resistant to current Covid vaccines.

Lambda isn’t the only Variant to have made its way here to the sunshine state.

“There’s another variant that has not received the WHO designation, and it’s called B1-621, and that one became dominant in Colombia, and these two variants have some level of transmissibility at least in those two countries,” Teng said.

The B.1.621 variant has spread quickly in the Jacksonville area. However, experts say neither of these variants seems to be more lethal than the delta variant, and neither of them appear to spread any faster, which explains why the delta variant remains the largest concern in our state.

“We need to deal with the crisis we are in as this Delta Variant is a big problem,” Teng said.

Experts say the best technique for protecting yourself is the one you already know, wearing a mask.

“There is no way that a virus can mutate itself around a mask, so masks and physical distancing are really essential as well,” Teng said.

Doctors at Tampa General Hospital said that so far they have seen very few patients with either of these variants, but because of the way the COVID-19 can mutate and spread, they are going to be watching those numbers closely.

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