Cuomo: UK variant of COVID-19 found in Niagara County

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 27, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo announced additional cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 have been found in several New York counties including Niagara County.

"Additional cases of the UK variant have been found in Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Saratoga, Tompkins, Niagara, Onondaga, Essex and Warren Counties," a release from the governor's office says.

On January 4 the governor announced a 60-year-old man from Saratoga County tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19, the first in the state.

As of January 27 there are 42 cases of the UK variant of COVID-19 in the state, with Niagara County the first and only Western New York county to have a confirmed case.

Experts say the UK variant of COVID-19 is more infectious than the normal COVID strain but, just because it is more infectious, does not mean there is time for panic.

"The early suggestion is this should not be a cause for concern," Dr. Yasmine Thanavala, Professor of Immunology at Roswell Park said in a January 5 interview with WKBW.

Dr. Thomas Russo, Chief of Infectious Disease at the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine, also said the data shows it does not cause more severe symptoms at this point.

"Presently, the data does support that it does not cause a more severe disease, which is obviously good news," Dr. Russo said.

The question will be to see how the vaccine reacts to this new strain. Moderna says their vaccine appears to protect against variants found in the UK and South Africa.

When reached for comment the Niagara County Department of Health said it had no additional information other than what the governor said Wednesday.