During a press conference on Wednesday Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) all the infections are in upstate Warren County.
They are currently being investigated to see if they are linked to the very first case which was identified at a jewelry store in nearby Saratoga County.
It comes as Mayor Bill De Blasio revealed during his own press conference that two of the state’s 15 total cases are New York City residents.
The two people live in Manhattan and Queens, respectively, and one of them had recently traveled to the UK.
With cases of the new variant spreading, now infecting least 85 people in 13 states, de Blasio called once again for a complete travel ban from the UK.
Wisconsin and New Mexico each reported their first case of the super-infectious UK variant on Wednesday.
And Ohio scientists discovered two more-infectious, homegrown variants of the virus, they announced Wednesday.
One is virtually identical to the UK variant, but evolved independently in the U.S. A second is completely unique to the country and has become dominant in Columbus, Ohio.
Two New York City residents have been infected with the new coronavirus variant first identified in the UK, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday (pictured)
At least 83 people across 11 states have contracted the new strain, which is up to 70% more transmissible
US SCIENTISTS FIND THREE HOMEGROWN SUPER-COVID’ VARIANTS
The US now has three of its own homegrown ‘super-covid’ variants that are more infectious than the most common coronavirus types in the US – and the new variants are spreading like wildfire in at least one state.
Two variants were identified by Ohio scientists on Wednesday and the third by Illinois researchers on Thursday.
One of the new, more infectious variants has already become dominant in Columbus, Ohio, where it was discovered.
This unique US variant has three mutations not seen in the others from the UK, Brazil and South Africa.
It does have a spike protein mutation, and is thought to be more infectious than normal coronavirus.
So far, this homegrown variant has been seen in about 20 samples since Ohio State University (OSU) scientists first detected it in December.
It’s now present in most of the samples they are sequencing.
A second variant has mutations virtually identical to the UK variant’s, but arose completely independently on American soil, according to Ohio State University scientists.
Just one person with this variant has been found.
There is no evidence that either of the new variants will be immune to vaccines so far.
The third new variant was discovered by a team from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
The earliest appearance of new variant, called 20C-US, was traced back to Texas in May 2020.
It began picking up prevalence in late June and early July 2020 and could be responsible for up to 50% of all current cases.
The variant carries several mutations, including to the spike protein, which the virus uses to enter and infect human cells.
Scientists say the variant has not spread significantly beyond the country’s borders, and that is most highly prevalent in the Upper Midwest and eastern states.
The first case in New York was identified in a man in 60s last week at a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs, a city about 190 miles north of New York City.
Since then, three other people in Saratoga County and two people in Warren County linked to the jewelry store have tested positive for the new strain.
A second outbreak in Long Island is linked to two cases in Suffolk County, two cases from Nassau County and the case in Queens.
Only the Manhattan case is not linked to any outbreak.
”We’re dealing with high numbers of COVID cases across the state as we move through the dark days of winter, and although I understand COVID fatigue has set in, we need New Yorkers to remember that we aren’t out of the woods yet,’ Cuomo during his press conference.
‘The vaccine is the weapon that ends the war, but we’re locked in a footrace between its quick distribution and the spread of new cases.’
Meanwhile, in New York City, De Blasio said the two patients are currently in isolation and have been in contact with the state’s Test And Trace Corps.
‘Obviously, they’re being followed up on and supported,’ he said.
‘Test and Trace engaged with them and we’ll keep people updated as we have more information.
Dr Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner said the two cases were diagnosed in late December and confirmed via genetic testing on Wednesday.
This likely means the variant spreading widely through the city for several weeks.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that, on January 26, it begin requiring all international travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before entering the U.S.
This is in addition to the Trump administration’s policy, which barred UK travelers without a negative test from entry.
Passengers are required to get tested no more than three days before their flight and show a negative result to the airline before boarding.
However, de Blasio repeated calls for the federal government to ban flights from the UK for the foreseeable future.
‘Although I appreciate the federal government is finally acting to restrict who can get on an internal flight and require them to have a negative coronavirus test, that’s not good enough,’ he said.
‘There should be an immediate travel ban from the United Kingdom to the United States. Here’s proof positive: Someone who was in the UK has brought the variant back here.’
As of Wednesday afternoon, 85 infections have been detected in 13 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.
California currently has the highest number of reported cases with 34 in total – 32 in San Diego County and two in San Bernardino County – and Florida is close behind with 22 cases.
New York has the third highest number of cases with 15.
The strain, known as B 1.1.7., is feared to be up to 70 percent more transmissible and to spread more easily among children.
What’s more, a Minnesota case of the new variant indicates it may have been circulating in the U.S. far earlier than previously believed.
The positive sample comes from a patient that was taken on December 18 and uploaded to the global genomic database GISAID.
Meanwhile, other variants from South Africa and Brazil have been found – but neither have any confirmed cases in the U.S.