The new, more transmittable strain of COVID-19 that came to the country from the United Kingdom continues to rapidly spread throughout New York, causing concerns for some.
More than a dozen cases of the COVID-19 variant have been reported across the state after first being confirmed in Saratoga Springs. Since then, there have been infections reported on Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, and upstate.
Among the newest cases, two are in Nassau County and two in Suffolk County.
Officials have said that the UK variant has been proven to be more contagious, but not more lethal than the original strain that has wreaked havoc on the state and country.
“We’re in a danger zone, the infection rate is going up, the hospitalization rate is going on, and if hospitals reach capacity, then we’re going to have to shut down the economy in that region,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week.
“Add to that factor in the UK strain, which is here,” he added. “This is one nation, and when people get on a plane and travel here, it’s here. And it’s spreading, and the infection rate is frightening.”
Cuomo called the new variant the “Usain Bolt of infection rates” after it took over from the original strain in the UK in just a few weeks. The strain is estimated to be between 40 percent and 70 percent more transmittable than the original COVID-19 strain.
“The UK strain complicates all of the issues, because if more nurses or doctors get. sick, then it reduces your hospital capacity, and if you reduce your hospital capacity, you have the worst case scenario and that’s a very real possibility,” he noted.
“We’re not being overly cautious or overly dramatic,” Cuomo continued. “We’re cautious here, but we’re also realistic in New York, and this is a realistic possibility. We know that because we’re seeing it across the nation and globe.”
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