First Cases of UK Coronavirus Strain Found in NYC

NEW YORK -
Mayor Bill de Blasio tours a NYPD-run Vaccination Center with NYPD leadership at Queens Police Academy. Monday, January 11, 2021. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Two people are infected with mutated UK strain of COVID-19, the first cases of the highly infectious strain found in New York City.

One of them had traveled from the UK, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed during his press conference on Wednesday. He reiterated that the federal government needed to act fast and ban travel from the UK, or the country faces being overwhelmed with soaring cases.

“Here’s proof positive, someone who is in the UK has brought the variant back here. We need that stopped. Flights from the United Kingdom should be canceled immediately by the federal government,” said de Blasio.

Dr. Dave Chokshi said one patient was from Queens, and the other was from Manhattan.

“I think my clear, core message is that it should compel us to be even more vigilant about the precautions that we can take both to protect ourselves as well as to protect others,” Chokshi said.

An additional eight infections were found in New York State recently, bringing the state’s total to 12.

The city’s current 7-day rolling average positivity rate is 8.39% and the hospitalization rate is 4.62%.

“Anyone who’s older, anyone who has preexisting conditions, should really limit their movements, should only do the most essential things,” de Blasio said. “If you’re one of the folks who’s vulnerable, don’t take chances.”

The city is rapidly opening more vaccination sites, and for more people.

Two news sites opened today: 125 Worth Street in Lower Manhattan and the Vanderbilt Clinic on Staten Island will both be open 24/7 for inoculation. On Saturday, the city will open a 24/7 Health + Hospitals vaccine clinic in Corona, Queens.

In addition to healthcare workers, hospital workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders, teachers, grocery store workers, adults 65 and older, and adults with preexisting conditions are eligible to be vaccinated.

As of now, there are no federal or state guidelines on what conditions qualify as preexisting and would make someone eligible.

Those who are able to vaccinated can register online, or call 877-VAX-4NYC at 8 AM-9 PM.