1st NY case of Brazilian COVID-19 variant found in Brooklyn resident, Gov. Cuomo says


People wearing protective masks during the coronavirus pandemic enter and exit Mount Sinai hospital Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in New York. “Unfortunately, due to sudden changes in vaccine supply, we have been forced to cancel existing public vaccination appointments,” said a hospital spokesperson. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (WPIX) — The first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant (P.1) in New York State was discovered Saturday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan and verified by the department of health labs. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90s with no travel history, according to the state.

“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,” Gov. Cuomo said. “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.”

The state’s department of health is working with their counterparts at the city to learn more about the patient and potential contacts.

“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,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “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.”

The P.1 variant was first detected in the United States at the end of January, and the CDC is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a “variant of concern,” which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.

While the state says that additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer-reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought. 

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