The first case of a COVID-19 variant known as the Brazilian variant was confirmed in New York, with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing that scientists at Mount Sinai Hospital identified the case, which was then verified by the state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90s who hasn’t traveled recently, officials said in a news release. Health officials are doing further investigation of the patient and any potential contacts.
The Brazilian variant was first detected in the U.S. in January, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported nearly 50 confirmed cases nationwide. The variant has been considered potentially more severe than earlier variants and possibly more resistant to current vaccines, though some recent research has indicated it may not be as resistant to the vaccines as initially thought.
Cuomo said Sunday that 25.7% of New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose since the state’s vaccination effort began, and 13.2% have been fully vaccinated. He announced a slight change in the state’s vaccination rules on Sunday, stating that pharmacies, which previously were allowed to provide shots only to people over 60 and teachers, can now vaccinate people under 60 who qualify for the inoculations because of certain health conditions.