No Evidence New NYC Strain Contributing Much to City's Caseload

No Evidence New NYC Strain Contributing Much to City's Caseload

    No evidence yet exists that the new COVID strain found in New York City is contributing to the city’s COVID positivity rate. 

     Like all viruses, COVID will continue to mutate into more variants, the latest of which is similar to the South African variant.

   "Dogs bark, ducks quack, viruses mutate," said Jay Varma, MD, the mayor’s senior adviser for the coronavirus pandemic. "That's what viruses do."

     "The more infections that occur in humans, the more likely it is the virus will mutate," Varma said, as he has explained why it is important to minimize how many people are infected.

   At this point, the new variant, known as B.1.526, is not contributing to the city’s current caseload, which continues to decrease, explained City Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi, MD, at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press briefing this morning.

   As of mid-February, the new variant was present in about 12% of coronavirus samples that were collected in the city and  its surrounding areas, according to researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the New York Post reported.

    “We also don’t have any evidence at this point that the variant is concentrated in certain parts of the city,” added Chokshi, who emphasized that in light of the new variant that is spreading throughout the city, New Yorkers should continue to wear a mask, or two, remain socially distant and stay vigilant about washing their hands.

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

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