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More infectious COVID-19 variant found in Florida -state officials

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Hundreds wait in line at Lakes Park Regional Library to recieve the COVID-19 vaccine in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S. December 30, 2020. Andrew West/The News-Press/USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS.

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WASHINGTON, Dec 31 (Reuters) - A more infections variant of COVID-19 that has swept through the United Kingdom has been identified in Florida, state health officials said on Thursday, marking the third known U.S. state to identify such a case.

The Florida Department of Health said the case involved a male in his 20s in Martin County with no history of travel. Two other cases involving the UK variant have been identified in Colorado and California.

"The Department is working with the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) on this investigation," it tweeted.

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On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 had been identified in Southern California.

A day earlier, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the variant had been identified there, while another state health official said a second possible case was being investigated. read more

The cases, found in individuals who had not recent traveled, showed the likely community spread of the variant from person-to-person in the United States. Health experts have said they believe the new variant is more infectious but recently approved vaccines should provide protection against it.

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Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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