Cuomo: feds not taking new COVID-19 strain seriously enough

Cuomo: feds not taking new COVID-19 strain seriously enough
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing his call for the federal government to take action to halt the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus. (Source: WWNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing his call for the federal government to take action to halt the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus.

“I don’t believe this country is taking it as seriously as it should,” he said, “and, more importantly, I don’t think this country is taking the action that it should take.”

The strain was originally discovered in the United Kingdom and is thought to be 70 percent more contagious than the original.

But that’s most of what’s known.

“We don’t know if it’s more deadly,” he said. “We don’t know if the vaccine works on it or not.”

At this point, he said, 120 countries are requiring airline passengers to be tested for COVID-19 before they leave the U.K. or have banned U.K. travelers entirely.

The United States has not joined them.

“Why are we saying, ‘test the travelers in the U.K. before they get on a plane?’” he said. “Why aren’t we saying, ‘test travelers, period before they get on a plane and come to the United States?’”

He said the same thing happened in the spring.

“It is the same mistake the federal government made that killed thousands of people and cost billions of dollars.”

Without action from the federal government, Cuomo asked all three airlines that fly people from the U.K. to New York – British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Delta – to make sure passengers are tested before they embark to the state.

All three airlines have agreed.

In the meantime, the state is asking hospital labs across the state to test for the new strain to see if it’s in New York so officials can quickly isolate it and prevent an outbreak.

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