Why New York’s COVID-19 strain was only classified as a ‘variant of interest’

Why New York’s COVID-19 strain was only classified as a ‘variant of interest’


New York state’s homegrown COVID-19 strain is listed as a “variant of interest” rather than a “variant of concern” — but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s less dangerous than other strains, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The so-called B.1.526 variant received the classification because scientists are still scrambling to study it and simply don’t yet know enough about it, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House press briefing.

“I want to be clear that listing a variant as one of interest rather than a variant concern does not mean we are not prioritizing the variant or that the variant is not important for us to carefully follow,” she said. “Rather, it means that we are still working to understand the variant, gather data on it and determine its impact.”

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The contagiousness of the New York strain — which includes a mutation similar to the South African variant — is still being studied,

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