Brazilian Strain of COVID Officially Spreading in New York
A New York resident with no travel history was diagnosed with the Brazilian variant of coronavirus.
On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the discovery of the first case of a COVID-19 P.1 variant, commonly referred to as the Brazilian variant, in a New York State resident.
"The detection of the Brazilian variant here in New York further underscores the importance of taking all the appropriate steps to continue to protect your health," Cuomo said. "While it's normal for a virus to mutate, the best way to protect yourself is to continue to wear a well-fitted mask, avoid large crowds, social distance, wash your hands and get vaccinated when it's your turn."
The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and verified by the Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90's with no travel history. DOH is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to learn more information about the patient and potential contacts.
The P.1 variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a "variant of concern," which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. However, while additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer-reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought, officials say.
"This is a race between the vaccine and the variants, and we continue to make tremendous progress of getting shots in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. In the meantime we remind New Yorkers to do everything they can to protect themselves and their neighbors as we continue to manage this pandemic," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.