First Case Of UK Coronavirus Variant Found On Long Island

Alex Costello

MASSAPEQUA, NY — Days after the first case of the UK variant of the coronavirus was detected in New York, a case has been found on Long Island.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a case of the UK strain of the virus was identified in Nassau County, in a man from Massapequa. It is seemingly unrelated to the first case, which was found in Saratoga County on Monday. Two more cases have been linked to that one, though.

Though the UK variant isn't more deadly, it is more contagious than the regular coronavirus. Experts say it could be up to 70 times more contagious, which means it can spread much more easily.

"The UK strain is here, it is real, and the Usain Bolt-like speed through which it spreads is nothing short of frightening," Cuomo said. "There's no mystery as to how it got here — it got on a plane and flew here from Europe, just like the original strain did. Yet, the federal government continues to refuse to learn from the spring and mandate testing for all international travelers. Their failure to act means the rest of us need to be that much more vigilant in our work to stop the spread, as well as do all we can to accelerate the distribution of the vaccine."

According to Cuomo, the Nassau case is a Massapequa man in his 60s who first tested positive for the coronavirus on Dec. 27. The state is working with contact tracers in Nassau to see if anyone else has been exposed.

The first case of the UK variant in New York was a Saratoga Springs man who was also in his 60s. He worked in a jewelry store where five other people had tested positive for the virus. Only two of them had the UK strain, though.

This article originally appeared on the Massapequa Patch