Doctors warn your mask might not protect you from COVID-19 variant

With a highly contagious COVID-19 variant spreading in Florida, health experts say people should be wearing more protection. 

The strain first discovered in the United Kingdom is now becoming more prevalent in the United States, with a quarter of the total cases having been detected in Florida.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Sunday, Florida has 50 cases, California is at 72 and New York has 22 cases. 

"People are always coming to Florida, compared to the other states and this is why I think we’re going to see the variant over here," said Dr. Sumeet Bhavsar, of Florida Integrative Modern Medicine.

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Dr. Jason Littleton, a family medicine physician, believes looking for it could also be contributing to the number of cases in the state. 

"I think it’s more prevalent across that U.S. than what we’re finding. You need a special test to analyze if someone has that variant. Most nasal swabs, PCR tests are not doing that," Littleton said.

Health experts say a regular cloth mask just won't cut it for the more contagious strain. The best protection against it is an N95 or KN95 mask. The next best option would be a surgical mask.

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"We’ve always been pushing for the right mask," Dr. Bhavsar said. "This new variant, that’s more contagious so we definitely need to be more vigilant again."

Dr. Littleton suggests wearing a cloth mask over a medical mask for extra protection or a cloth mask with a filer insert. However, if you're not around others, like a quick walk with your dog, he says a regular cloth mask is just fine.

Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.