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COVID-19: Two New Cases Of UK So-Called 'Super Strain' Variant Detected In Westchester

The UK strain has been identified in Westchester.
The UK strain has been identified in Westchester. Photo Credit: ny.gov

New mutated COVID-19 cases involving the so-called "Super Strain" "that got on a plane in the United Kingdom and flew to New York” have been reported in the Hudson Valley.

Two new cases were reported of the UK strain, which is more transmittable, though no more lethal, were reported in Westchester, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday, Jan. 22.

“The UK strain has been spreading,” he said during a COVID-19 briefing on Friday. “It should have never been here. If the federal government did the testing and quarantine mandates that other countries did it wouldn’t have been, but we are where we are.”

The state is now up to 25 confirmed cases of the mutated virus in all of New York after five new infections were confirmed this week in Westchester, Long Island, and in Brooklyn.

The latest cases, announced Friday, were two in Westchester, and one in Brooklyn.

Cuomo did not announce where the precise locations of the new cases in Westchester and Brooklyn were.

“The new strains are frightening,” Cuomo added. “The UK strain … the Brazil strain … the South African strain … and there’s going to be more strains, I would wager on it.”

Though the UK strain is believed to be no more lethal than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that preliminary evidence shows that there may be new proof that it is in fact more lethal.

“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant — the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) — may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he said in a news conference.

“If you took ... a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus,” he added. 
“With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die.” 

Cuomo said that the Wadsworth Center has been testing for additional mutated strains outside of the UK, though not have been confirmed yet.

“So far the mutated strains are different and more dangerous and that this UK strain,” Cuomo said. “It’s just a matter of time until there’s a strain that’s much more lethal, and unfortunately I believe you have to anticipate a strain that is vaccine-resistant.”

Cuomo made note that the CDC claims that the UK strain could overtake the initial strain as soon as March, potentially causing a rise in the state’s positive COVID-19 infection rate, which has been slowly dropping.

“That’s how quickly this spreads, so you could see the infection rate go up,” he said. “So we will adjust. We’re in a war with COVID, and it’s a fluid situation. In war when an enemy moves you move. They try a new tactic, you try a new tactic and that ability to adjust is very important.

“You can never get cocky with COVID.” 

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