Federal health experts take a mutated version of the coronavirus spreading in New York “very, very seriously,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday.
The new variant, which first appeared in the metropolitan area in late November, has since cropped up in neighboring states. It likely started in Washington Heights, Fauci said.
“We have to really keep an eye on that,” Fauci said.
Public health experts warn it’s not clear yet how problematic the variant may be. It will take further research to understand if the variant spreads more easily or curbs the effectiveness of vaccines.
Experts say that in the meantime, public health measures like social distancing and mask-wearing will reduce opportunities for the coronavirus to continue mutating and spreading.