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NY Gov. Cuomo confirms state’s first case

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wears a protective face mask as he approaches during a daily briefing following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manhattan in New York City, New York, the United States, on July 13, 2020 Word comes.

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New York State confirmed its first case of a new, contagious variant of the coronavirus originally discovered in the United Kingdom, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

The strain, which has also been found in California, Florida, and Colorado, is believed to be communicable but doesn’t appear to make people sicker or increase the risk of death from Covid-19, experts have said.

The case was identified in a 60-year-old man from Saratoga County who had no travel history, Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. The man, who is now recovering, worked in a jewelry store where three other people also tested positive for Covid-19. The state is investigating whether these cases were caused by the new strain.

Cuomo told reporters that the state had conducted about 5,000 tests looking for the new variant known as B.1.1.7. Cuomo said he believed it was “a lot more common” than people already know.

“If other states could test as much as we tested and tested on the British strain, as much as we tested, they would find them,” Cuomo said, adding that officials haven’t had any cases with the strain in the EU have established Downstate New York City area.

U.S. health officials have said the variant’s arrival in the nation comes as no surprise, although if it is allowed to spread uncontrollably it could make matters worse.

While the new variant doesn’t appear to cause more serious illness in infected people and current vaccines should still work against it, it could lead to more hospitalizations due to the increase in cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. The US is also on high alert for a second new, highly infectious strain first found in South Africa, similar to the one in the UK, CDC officials said.

“Increased infection is a problem, but increased hospitalization rates change the game because if hospital capacity in a region is threatened, that region would have to be closed,” Cuomo told reporters.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state has now confirmed six cases of the new variant, all in the southern part of the state. One person was hospitalized in San Diego County, he said.

“We actually imagine that one should only expect others to be identified,” Newsom said during a press conference.

State officials are expected to provide an update by the end of Tuesday on the genome tests in California, which are being carried out to “understand more fully what this strain looks like and what it has done,” Newsom said. He said state health officials are conducting contact tracing efforts.

The CDC now requires all passengers traveling from the UK to the US to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, which was carried out no later than three days prior to departure, before boarding.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday a new national blocking order for England until at least mid-February, in hopes of slowing down the spread of the new variant. He said the best doctors in the country believe the burden is between 50% and 70% more transmissible compared to previous versions.

“With most of the country already facing extreme measures, it is clear that we must do more together to get this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out,” Johnson said on a television announcement.

– CNBC’s Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report.

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