Cuomo: UK Strain of COVID ‘Could Be a Game Changer’ For New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns the U.K. strain of COVID is highly problematic and it could be a game-changer.
On Monday, Gov. Cuomo confirmed the U.K .variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus was found in a person from Saratoga County. The man has had no known travel history, which suggests community spread of the highly contagious U.K. strain in New York.
"The U.K. strain is highly problematic and it could be a game-changer," Cuomo said on Tuesday. "This is a virus we have to be extra careful with. We spent the morning talking to Global experts on this viral strain. The numbers are frightening on the increase of the transmittal of the virus. Even if the lethality doesn't go up the fact that it is so much more transmittable is a very real problem."
The person from Saratoga County is a man from Saratoga Springs in his 60s who works at N. Fox Jewelers on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Three others from the jewelry store also tested positive for COVID, according to Cuomo. It's unclear if those three have the UK strain.
The new strain is believed to be as much as 70 percent more transmissible.
"Look we are in a foot race right now as we said between the vaccine versus the infection rate and hospitalization capacity. That's the foot race. This UK strain changes the whole foot race because the rate of transmission goes way up. The rate of infection goes way up. Apparently, the UK stream can actually overtake the original covid stream in a matter of weeks. That's how quickly it can transmit," Cuomo said.
Cuomo called on President Donald Trump to issue a UK travel ban or mandatory testing for U.K. travelers.
"Just test all international travelers before (they arrive) and tell the airline's you have to test them before they get on a plane to come to this country or say if you land in this country, we're not going to allow you in until you take a test," Cuomo said.