NY’s first case of Brazilian COVID variant detected in Brooklyn resident

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A Brooklyn nonagenarian with no travel history is the first person in New York to catch a confirmed case of the Brazilian variant of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said Saturday.

The state’s first case of COVID-19 P.1 was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, and verified by the Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratories, Cuomo’s office said.

The state Department of Health is working to learn more about the patient and potential contacts, Cuomo’s office said.

The variant was first found in the U.S. in January in Minnesota, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There are currently 48 cases in 15 states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, according to the CDC website.

The Brazilian variant is considered more contagious than the first version of the coronavirus, and it’s possible the vaccines won’t be as effective against it.

But Cuomo’s office was optimistic about such concerns.

“While additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought,” the governor’s office said.

The city says nearly 3.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in the five boroughs.

“This is a race between the vaccine and the variants, and we continue to make tremendous progress of getting shots in the arms of eligible New Yorkers,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. He urged residents to continue to follow safety precautions until the pandemic is under control.

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