NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on Variant Virus Strain from the U.K.: ‘Let’s Have a Travel Ban Right Now’

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks during a video press conference on the city's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak held at City Hall on March 19, 2020 in New York City. Reporters participated via WebEx and the event was streamed live by local media. …
William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Tuesday called for a travel ban from the United Kingdom over a variant strain of the Chinese coronavirus — one that is reportedly more transmissible — referring to it as the “new foe.”

“Right now you can still get on a plane in London and not even have proof you have a negative test, then come to New York City and merrily spread the disease,” he said during Tuesday’s press conference, asking why that is occurring.

“Why, still, after all these challenges and problems is this madness still going on?” de Blasio asked, calling for a travel ban — something several Democrats and members of the establishment media deemed racist and xenophobic when President Donald Trump first began shutting down travel from China early last year.

“This new variant is tremendously troubling. Let’s have a travel ban right now,” de Blasio continued:

“Buy us time to get the vaccinations done and protect people. The amount of inconvenience it causes to travelers pales in comparison this variant poses to all of us,” he added. “Let’s shut down that danger right now.”

While the strain is more transmissible, health officials say it is not considered to be more deadly.

“Even if the lethality doesn’t go up, the fact that it is so much more transmittable is a very real problem,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who last month pushed for travel restrictions from U.K., said.

“This UK strain changes the whole footrace because the UK strain, the rate of transmission goes way up. It’s no longer the race we were running,” he explained.

“Apparently, the UK strain can actually overtake the original COVID [coronavirus] strain in a matter of weeks. That’s how quickly it can transmit,” the Democrat governor added.

Cases of the variant strain have been identified in California, Colorado, Florida, and New York. According to NBC New York, the state is “investigating whether at least three other sick people tied to an upstate jewelry store also have the more contagious COVID-19 variant initially identified in the U.K.”

The U.S. has reported 20,558,489 cumulative cases of the Wuhan virus and 350,664 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) data last updated January 4.


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