New York, Jan 4 (efe-epa).- New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday confirmed the detection of the new British strain of the coronavirus in the region after a resident of Saratoga County, in the central part of the state, was diagnosed with the much more highly transmissible variant.
“NEW: The Wadsworth Lab has confirmed New York State’s first case of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus that causes COVID,” Cuomo announced on his official Twitter account.
“An individual from Saratoga County, New York, tested positive for the strain. The individual had no known travel history,” he added in the same tweet.
This is the fourth state to detect the presence of the British strain – estimated to be 50 percent to 70 percent more contagious than the original version of the virus – after California, Florida and Colorado.
Despite the fact that it is trasmitted much more easily, experts have said that the new strain does not seem to cause worse health problems than the original strain – which are bad enough, to be sure, for some people – and it is believed that the vaccines that have been developed by several pharmaceutical firms will be effective against it.
“I think we just have to assume that it’s going to be worse,” said top US epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday in an interview with ABC regarding the new British variant, but he added that the strain does not seem to make people sicker or lead to a greater mortality rate.
Fauci said the new strain does not seem able to sidestep the protection a person acquires from the antibodies that the vaccines spur the body to create, referring to the information collected so far by British scientists and medical personnel and also confirmed by US experts.
The US continues remains nation hardest it by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 20.7 million confirmed cases to date and more than 352,000 deaths, according to the latest tally being kept independently by The Johns Hopkins University.