First New York case of ‘Brazilian’ COVID variant found in NYC


FILE – This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Viruses are constantly mutating, with coronavirus variants circulating around the globe. (NIAID-RML via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/WIVB) — There are multiple variants of COVID-19 being discovered throughout the world. The Brazillian variant, also known as P.1, was first discovered in the U.S. at the end of January.

A patient at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City is the state’s first to be diagnosed with the Brazilian variant of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced March 20. The nonagenarian is from Brooklyn and has no travel history.

The strain was verified by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories in Albany. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is gathering information about the patient and people with who they may have come in contact.

In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the discovery of the variant in New York emphasizes the need to continue protecting yourself from the virus. “The detection of the Brazilian variant here in New York further underscores the importance of taking all the appropriate steps to continue to protect your health. While it’s normal for a virus to mutate, the best way to protect yourself is to continue to wear a well-fitted mask, avoid large crowds, social distance, wash your hands, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” he said.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker says it is now a race between variants and the vaccine. “This is a race between the vaccine and the variants, and we continue to make tremendous progress of getting shots in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. In the meantime, we remind New Yorkers to do everything they can to protect themselves and their neighbors as we continue to manage this pandemic,” he said.

According to state officials, there are currently 48 cases of the Brazilian variant across the U.S. They say the variant is a “variant of concern,” which means there’s “evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.”

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