SPRING Break parties are a “perfect storm” for the spread of mutant Covid, an expert has warned, as college students ignore warnings to flood Florida’s beaches.
Shocking images show young people without masks packed together on the sand and in bars – despite the new B.1.1.7 strain, which originated in the UK, sweeping across the sunshine state.
A student is thrown into the air by a group of men as the Spring Break party begins in Florida despite the Covid pandemicCredit: Reuters
Experts have warned against people traveling to Florida as the virus continues to kill AmericansCredit: Maria Alejandra Cardona
Beaches this weekend have been packed with college studentsCredit: Reuters
Nearly 2,000 Americans on Friday died from the coronavirusCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Experts have warned that a mutant Covid strain first detected in the UK is infecting people in FloridaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Dr Peter Hotez, of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said: “It’s a perfect storm.”
He told CNN: “You’ve got the B.1.1.7 variant accelerating in Florida.
“You’ve got all these 20-year-old kids. None of them are going to have masks. They’re all going to be drinking. They’re having pretty close, intimate contact.
“And then, after that’s all done, they’re going to go back to their home states and spread the B.1.1.7 variant.”
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted some universities such as Ohio State and State University of New York to cancel Spring Break.
Yet, Florida’s warm weather and lax Covid restrictions have prompted thousands of students to flock to the likes of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
But with nearly 2,000 Americans dying from Covid on Friday, the message from the country’s leading scientists has been clear.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “Don’t travel. We really, really would advocate for not traveling right now.”
The B.1.1.7 strain has already spread to at least 44 US states.
A young man serves drinks to party goers in MiamiCredit: Rex Features
Beach bars in Florida have been packed with young people not wearing masksCredit: Rex Features
People party in Miami despite the killer pandemicCredit: Reuters
A sign in Miami Beach warns people to stay 6ft apart from each otherCredit: Rex Features
Young people ignore scientific guidance and party in FloridaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
People have been spotted maskless and in crowdsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Experts fear Spring Break travel will cause an uptick in Covid casesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
According to the latest data, the mutant variant is up to 74 per cent more transmissible than the original virus.
Dr Hotez said: “Florida has the highest percentage of the B.1.1.7 UK variant.
“Spring Break in Florida could spell disaster for the country.”
The expert, who lives in Houston, added: “A lot of (students) are going to go to South Texas as well, and that’s also a concern.”
This comes as a beach party hotspot in Florida has banned Spring Breakers from out-of-state who are under 23.
The Wharf in Fort Lauderdale has announced the ban will apply throughout March in a further effort to curb Spring Break debauchery.
Some Florida beaches are shutting down early, with curfews meant to help dampen possible virus spread.
According to the Covid Tracking Project, another 65,000 cases were reported across the nation on Thursday.
More than 537,000 people have died in the US from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Experts have warned youngsters not to travel between states during Spring BreakCredit: Maria Alejandra Cardona
People walk along Ocean Drive in MiamiCredit: Reuters
Night spots in Miami have been busy this weekendCredit: Reuters