New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to quell fears about a new "New York variant" of the coronavirus on Thursday. De Blasio emphasized that a lot more research needed to be done before it is known whether the new variant is any more or less dangerous. (Feb. 25)
BILL DE BLASIO: Until there's evidence that tells us that a variant is not handled well by vaccine, for example, or a variant has different impacts, we shouldn't assume the worst.
We should say, we need the full truth. We need the facts, because so far the experience with the variants has been even where there's been some proof of being more transmissible, for example, it has not changed the reality. It has not changed the impact of the disease. It has not changed our ability to fight the disease with the vaccine and all the other measures we take.
JAY VARMA: So we are able to detect and track this new strain that's been reported. And we'll continue to follow it. We have the ability also to now collect information about those patients and to understand better whether or not they have different features or outcomes and do our test and trace score, which is the best performing test and trace score in the country.
It has the ability to also track if somebody was infected, did they spread it to other people more often than something else? And that's really the key here. You need to piece together three pieces of information, the virus, what you study in the lab, what happens to the person who gets sick and may be hospitalized, and then what happens to all of their contacts.
And that's really what our health department, our test and trace score, and all our laboratories are really well designed to do.