Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said on Sunday that a person from the eastern suburbs of New York City has been confirmed to be the first New York resident to be infected with the more infectious coronavirus mutation that emerged in South Africa.
No other details about the case were provided, including when it was confirmed or whether the infected person (resident of Nassau County, Long Island) had traveled recently. This is not the first South African variant found in New York. Mr. Cuomo announced last Monday that the virus had been found in a man in Connecticut who was hospitalized in New York City.
Officials warn that its emergence in New York is inevitable, and it emphasizes the dangers of new variants that may be more contagious or resistant to vaccines, especially when the state’s vaccination efforts continue to be limited. When the dose supply is hindered.
Cuomo said in a statement on Sunday: “We are currently in the game-between our vaccination capabilities and actively attempting to spread these variants-and we can only win this game if we stay smart and disciplined.”
Two weeks ago, South Africa stopped using the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine because there is evidence that the vaccine does not protect participants in the clinical trial from mild or moderate disease caused by the variant.
Scientists in South Africa also said that when people infected with an earlier version of the coronavirus are infected with the South African mutant virus, the immunity they gain does not seem to protect them from mild or moderate infections.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is developing a plan to update the vaccine in the face of a surge in variants in the United States.
But Cuomo also provided reasons for optimism on Sunday, noting that the statewide rate of positive test results fell below 3% for the first time since November. He said the statewide hospitalization rate also continued to decline.