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People's Daily Online

At least four U.S. states identify cases of new coronavirus strain

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 14:39, January 05, 2021

NEW YORK, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. state of New York on Monday confirmed its first case of a new coronavirus variant that was first identified in Britain and appears to be more contagious, making it the fourth state to report the strain.

"An individual from Saratoga County, New York, tested positive for the strain. The individual had no known travel history," said Governor Andrew Cuomo in his tweet.

"It's a gentleman who is in his 60s. He was symptomatic, but he is on the mend, and he's doing better. He did not travel recently, so this suggests that it's in the community, it was community spread as opposed to having traveled to the UK," the governor was quoted as saying in an official release.

Meanwhile on Monday, the governor warned that a post-holiday hike of the coronavirus hospitalizations was expected, because people would usually travel and gather during this time, which could fuel the spread of the virus.

As of Monday evening, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University reported 38,583 coronavirus deaths in New York State, the worst in the country.

Prior to New York State, the variant has already been detected in Colorado, California and Florida.

Florida health officials on Thursday said they had evidence that the new COVID-19 variant had been found in a patient there. On Wednesday, California announced that the highly infectious coronavirus variant had been detected in the southern part of the state.

These cases came only days after the first known U.S. case of the new strain was discovered in Colorado at the end of December in a man in his 20s who also had no recent travel history.

The first cases of the new variant have been found in the country's most populated states amid a busy holiday travel season, making this a cause for concern, Mercedes Carnethon, vice chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, told news outlet MSNBC on Friday.

As the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported screening about 1.28 million passengers on Sunday following Christmas across U.S. airports, Carnethon was quoted as saying that "we can be sure based on the photographs that we all saw from TSA check points over the holidays that millions of people traveled among these destinations."

"We can be fairly confident this variant is now everywhere," she added.

U.S. COVID-19 deaths have surpassed 353,000, with its national case count topping 20.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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