Governor Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing today, warning of a new U.K. based COVID-19 strain he believes is poised to spread on American soil.
Describing the mutation, he remarked, “The strain, according to Boris Johnson, is 70% more transmittable than the old strain. They do not know if there is any higher rate of death. They don’t know if the vaccine is as effective against the new strain.”
Governor Cuomo cited recent shutdowns in the United Kingdom as evidence that action at home is required. Asserting inaction on behalf of the federal government, he said, “Why don’t we mandate testing before people get on the flight, or halt the flights from the UK now. Many other countries have done this. This is not a case of first impression.”
In a personal request to the three major airlines utilized in travel from the United Kingdom to New York State, Governor Cuomo asked for preflight testing on anyone bound for New York. The request was sent to British Airways, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic. British Airways has already responded in compliance with the Governor’s request for preflight tests before travel.
“The authorities say they haven’t found the strain here yet. They are science-based, until they find the strain, they will say there is no strain,” Governor Cuomo said on its presence stateside. He added, “I believe, intuitively, that it’s already here.”
According to the Governor, U.K. health officials remarked on the vaccine’s efficacy in stopping the new strain, saying, “Our working assumption is that the vaccine works.”