A new coronavirus strain in the United Kingdom has New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slamming the inaction of the U.S. as many countries, including Canada have started banning flights from the U.K. The COVID-19 variant spreading throughout the U.K. is reportedly 70% more infectious, but even Joe Biden’s nominee for surgeon general seems to think Cuomo needs to calm down.
Cuomo told reporters, “Right now, this variant in the U.K. is getting on a plane and flying to JFK. Right now. Today. Literally six flights a day. And all it takes is one person.”
Eleven countries, mostly in Europe, have suspended flights to the U.K. hoping to limit the chances of the “Super-COVID” from hitting their populations.
Authorities here in the U.S. have said they are looking at the virus variant “very carefully” but a ban on travel from the U.K. was not in the works.
Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program told CNN that US officials don’t know yet if the virus variant is present here. Slaoui also said that no strain of the virus at this time appears to be resistant to the vaccines available. “This particular variant in the U.K., I think, is very unlikely to have escaped the vaccine immunity,” Slaoui said.
Researchers have noted close to 4,000 different mutations of the coronavirus at this point.
While Andrew Cuomo may be upset about the lack of a travel ban from the U.K., the expected incoming surgeon general signaled the New York governor may be overreacting.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, Biden’s pick for the surgeon general post, spoke to Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the new strain in England and said, “While it seems to be more easily transmissible, we do not have evidence, yet, that this is a more deadly virus to an individual who acquires it. There’s no reason to believe the vaccines that have been developed will not be effective against this virus as well.”