Brazil Covid variant detected in New York resident for the first time

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday that a more contagious Covid-19 variant, originally identified in Brazilian travelers, has now reached New York, CNBC reports.

The patient with the Brazil variant is a Brooklyn resident in their 90s with no travel history, according to a press release.

“The detection of the Brazilian variant here in New York further underscores the importance of taking all the appropriate steps to continue to protect your health,” Cuomo said. The governor urged New Yorkers to continue wearing masks, avoid crowds and get a vaccine when eligible.

The Brazil strain, called P.1, was first identified in four travelers from Brazil who were tested during a screening in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The P.1 variant was discovered in the U.S. at the end of January. The CDC has since reported 48 cases nationwide. The strain has a set of additional mutations that could impact its ability to be recognized by antibodies.

There’s evidence the variant is more contagious and has the potential to reduce vaccine effectiveness. However, additional research is needed.

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