New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned the so-called UK strain of Covid could overtake the original virus and turn his state into a ‘petri dish’. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Cuomo said: ‘The UK strain highly problematic. It could be a game changer.
‘Apparently the UK strain can overtake the original Covid strain a matter of weeks. that’s how quickly it can transmit. This is something we have to watch, we have to pay careful attention to. It dramatically increases our challenge and we have to be prepared for it.’
Cuomo spoke after the new strain – so-called because it was first identified by British scientists – made its first known appearance in Saratoga, upstate New York, on Monday. It is believed to be up to 70% more contagious than the original Covid strain, although there is no evidence that it is more lethal.
Cuomo went on to blast US federal government officials for failing to implement a crackdown on travelers from the UK to New York. He claimed that inaction could make the Empire State a ‘petri dish’ for the latest outbreak, after New York spent much of Spring 2020 as the global Covid capital.
The governor, who called for mandatory testing for UK travelers, said: ‘Containment is vitally important here. The numbers are frightening on the increase in 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. We are in a foot race between the vaccine implementation versus the infection rate and hospital capacity.
‘This UK strain changes the whole foot race. The rate of transmission, infection foes way up. It’s no longer the race we were running.’
Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths have crept up in New York in recent weeks, although they are still far shorter than during the first wave of the virus last April.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all rocketed in the UK over the last month, sparking a draconian lockdown across its four nations.
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