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Fauci says Biden administration is taking new Covid variant in New York ‘very seriously’

  • The Biden administration is taking the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in New York "very seriously," White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
  • Fauci said the New York strain likely originated in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in the uppermost area of Manhattan, before spreading to other boroughs.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, on January 21, 2021.Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The Biden administration is taking the emergence of a new coronavirus strain in New York "very seriously," White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.

The new strain, which researchers are calling B.1.526, is rapidly spreading in New York City and carries a mutation that could weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, according to The New York Times. The variant first appeared in November and now accounts for about 1-in-4 viral sequences, the Times reports.

Fauci said Monday the strain likely originated in Washington Heights, a neighborhood in the uppermost area of Manhattan, before spreading to other boroughs. He said U.S. officials need to "keep an eye" on the strain, including the possibility that it could evade the protection of antibody treatments and vaccines.

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