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COVID-19: New Cases Of UK Variant Found In Suffolk County Patients

Two new COVID-19 cases of the UK strain have been identified in Suffolk County.
Two new COVID-19 cases of the UK strain have been identified in Suffolk County. Photo Credit: ny.gov

Two new mutated COVID-19 cases involving the “strain that got on a plane in the United Kingdom and flew to New York” have been reported on Long Island.

Both cases were reported in Suffolk County, along with two others tied to the initial outbreak of the variant strain in upstate New York, bringing the total to more than 20 such cases.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made note on Wednesday, Jan. 20 that it has been a full year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Washington.

“It’s been one year, so let’s learn a lesson in life that it’s OK to get knocked on your rear end, but let's take some advice from that, get up, and learn the lesson that knocked you on your rear end,” Cuomo said during a COVID-19 briefing in Albany on Wednesday. “This country hasn’t done that. We know that this virus is mutating, so let’s learn.

“So far the mutated strains are different and more dangerous and that this UK strain,” he continued. “The CDC casually mentioned that this UK strain can take over by March and if that happens, we’ll see our infection rate (skyrocket.)”

Cuomo also cautioned that there are likely other mutated strains from Brazil and South Africa that are already in New York, though no cases have been confirmed.

The governor made note that the Wadsworth Center has been testing for new strains, though none have been positively identified.

“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 said. “It’s almost a matter of probability.

“There could be a strain that requires a new vaccine, that’s a possibility,” he added. “We’ve done so much vaccine work that it’s possible we could come up with a new vaccine quickly, but then we’re going to have to administer that.”

Cuomo reiterated his call that all international travelers coming into the country, specifically into New York, should have to receive and pass a COVID-19 test before being allowed on or off a plane.

“We’re playing Russian Roulette with this virus … We know it’s mutating around the globe, so why are we still allowing international people to fly into our airport without taking tests,” he questioned. “It’s one year later … Why don’t we learn the lesson from a year ago, that’s how New York wound up in this situation.

“Why wouldn’t you say to all international travelers: ‘you have to be tested,’” Cuomo added. “It is just basic common sense and realizing the lessons we should have learned last year.” 

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