SPRING Break parties are a "perfect storm" for the spread of mutant Covid as students are pictured flooding Florida's beaches.
Shocking images show young people without masks packed together in bars – despite the new B.1.1.7 strain, which originated in the UK, sweeping across the sunshine state.
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.
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.
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