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Infectious disease doctor discusses mutated strain of COVID-19

'Possibly it's here,' Dr. Ramprasad Gopalan says
Posted at 2:10 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 17:37:14-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As a new mutation of the coronavirus has made its way to the United Kingdom, should Florida residents be concerned about it spreading to the Sunshine State?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new strain "appears to spread more easily and may be up to 70% more transmissible than the earlier strain."

WPTV's Miranda Christian spoke to Dr. Ramprasad Gopalan, an infectious disease specialist, to discuss this new variant, known as COVID-202012/01.

RELATED: Should Florida be concerned about UK variant?

"In this country, the implications are minimal yet," Gopalan said.

However, he said there is no certainty that the mutated virus hasn't already made it to the U.S.

"Possibly it's here," he said. "We just don't know."

Gopalan said there are flights operating between the U.S. and the U.K. and more infection control measures should be implemented to stop the spread.

"We have to proceed with extreme caution," Gopalan said. "Trying not to acquire that here and make that a predominant strain should be our goal."

Although Gopalan admitted that "stopping travel may be an extreme," he said anyone who travels through the U.K. should be placed in "strict quarantine" for at least 14 days.

"A concerned and a concerted effort to mitigate the transmission should be done," Gopalan said.

To learn more about the virus and its impact closer to home, watch the video above.