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New York COVID-19 Variant Gains Footing In Connecticut

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The COVID-19 variant that originated in New York as early as November, known as B.1.526, now accounts for 31.5% of Connecticut’s overall cases.

In a press briefing last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and member of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, said scientists “are certainly taking the New York variant, the 526, very seriously.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the strain listed as a “variant of interest,” not yet a “variant of concern.”

What is worrisome about this variant is that it shares similar mutations to the South African variant B.1.351. The strain is potentially resistant to both monoclonal antibody treatments and antibodies resulting from vaccination. However, no clinical data supports these possibilities, health experts said.

They believe it to be highly contagious. It has rapidly spread across the Northeast in states like New Jersey and Connecticut, even more so than the U.K. variant B.1.1.7, which the CDC said this week has become the dominant strain in the U.S.

With cases of the New York variant on the rise, health officials said they are monitoring its spread very closely.