New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers comments on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York City, USA, November 15, 2020.
Andy Kelly | Reuters
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that a Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa has reached New York.
The governor said at a news conference that the mutation, which experts are concerned, may be resistant to some vaccines, was discovered in a resident of Nassau County. The announcement comes days after a Connecticut resident tested positive for the variant at a New York City hospital.
“It’s more important than ever for New Yorkers to stay vigilant, wear masks, wash hands and stay socially aloof. We are currently in a race between our ability to vaccinate and these varieties actively trying to multiply, and we will only win that race if we stay smart and disciplined, ”said Cuomo.
The South African variant, known as B.1.351, was first discovered in the US in late January and has been found in at least 10 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 21 infections have been reported in the country.
The mutation is one of three strains of particular concern the agency is watching, along with variants first identified in the United Kingdom and Japan.
The CDC has said preliminary evidence from non-peer-reviewed publications suggests the Moderna vaccine “may be less effective” against the South African variety. It has warned that more studies are needed.
The Moderna vaccine is one of two federally approved vaccines in the United States. Three other vaccines are currently in clinical trials.
Cuomo’s announcement came as the number of new cases and hospital admissions in New York and nationwide continues to decline daily. Some public health experts have warned that the new mutations, believed to be more transmissible, could cause those trends to reverse.
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