Is New York Headed Towards a Complete COVID Lockdown Like The UK?
U.K. residents are told they must stay home. Could the "frightening" and highly contagious U.K. strain of COVID cause New York to go into a complete lockdown?
On Monday, Gov. Cuomo confirmed the UK variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus was found in a person from the Captial Region. The man has no known travel history, which suggests community spread of the highly contagious UK strain in New York.
Also on Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a strict national lockdown to stop the spread of the new variant. Johnson told all residents to stay home and closed schools.
"You must stay at home. This is the single most important action we can all take to save lives. You must not leave your home unless necessary," the U.K.'s coronavirus website states.
Deaths are up by over 20 percent in the U.K. and on Dec. 29, more than 80,000 people tested positive for COVID across the U.K., a new record, according to Johnson.
"We must therefore go into a national lockdown which is tough enough to contain this variant," Johnson said on Monday. "That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home. You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse."
On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo warned the U.K. strain of COVID is highly problematic and it could be a game-changer. The U.K. strain is believed to be as much as 70 percent more transmissible.
As of this writing, Cuomo has not added any new restrictions, but he acknowledged the U.K. strain is "frightening" and one that we must be "extra careful with."
"Look we are in a foot race right now as we said between the vaccine versus the infection rate and hospitalization capacity. That's the foot race. This UK strain changes the whole foot race because the rate of transmission goes way up. The rate of infection goes way up. Apparently, the UK stream can actually overtake the original covid stream in a matter of weeks. That's how quickly it can transmit," Cuomo said.
The New York man is a man in his 60s from Saratoga Springs who works at N. Fox Jewelers on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Three others from the jewelry store also tested positive for COVID, according to Cuomo. It's unclear if those three have the UK strain.