"People have been a little loose with the discussion of a second wave," said Cuomo during a briefing from Albany. "The first wave was the spread. The second wave was not a holiday surge. The second wave originally came from the 1918 flu pandemic which had one strain. After that strain, there was a second strain and the second strain did more damage than the first strain."
A new strain could spark another wave, warned the governor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a strain discovered in the U.K. - and much more contagious than the current strain- could become dominant.
Researchers say that the variant strain, known as B.1.1.7, has been detected in 10 states in the U.S. and over 30 countries nationwide, and, at its current trajectory, will grow rapidly and become the dominant strain found by March if extra measures to stop its spread are not taken.
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"Currently, there is no known difference in clinical outcomes associated with the described SARS-CoV-2 variants; however, a higher rate of transmission will lead to more cases, increasing the number of persons overall who need clinical care, exacerbating the burden on an already strained health care system, and resulting in more deaths," the report said.
Cuomo added that reports of a South African strain and a Brazilian strain are just as alarming and could also lead to a second wave. He's calling for the U.S. government to take steps to limit the exposure to Americans.
"Why don't you stop those people from coming here? We went through this last spring. China to Europe to the United States. 120 countries banned people from the UK. The U.S. did nothing," said Cuomo.