As the city ramps up efforts to vaccinate more people, at least two highly transmissible COVID-19 variants have been tracked in all five boroughs.
That includes the variant first detected in New York City, which city health officials say is slightly more common in the Bronx and parts of Queens.
The NYC Health Department says the zip code 11355 in Flushing, Queens has already seen at least 60 cases of the COVID variant that was first traced in New York City.
NY1 asked Wen Cui of Flushing if he was concerned about the variants.
“Definitely,” Cui responded.
Cui often rides the bus, where social distancing isn’t always possible. He says, due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 variants, he’ll continue to wear his masks and practice social distancing, even after he gets his second dose of the vaccine.
“The vaccine we have right now is probably not going to protect us from those viruses,” said Cui. “That’s my concern.”
City health officials say the variants that were first detected in New York City and the United Kingdom have shown up in all five boroughs. These mutations account for three out of every four cases that undergo analysis for genomic sequencing.
Their research also shows that the variant first detected in New York City is slightly more common in the Bronx and parts of Queens, while the variant first detected in the UK is slightly more common in southern Brooklyn, eastern Queens, and Staten Island.
City health officials say while new cases involving variants are rare in people who are fully vaccinated, it’s too soon to tell if the variants are breaking through vaccine protection.
Mask-wearing dads like Johnny Zhang are not yet willing to get vaccinated. He’s waiting for more data to be collected regarding potential side effects.
However, Zhang told NY1 while dropping his 4-year son off at a daycare that is located in a zip code that has seen dozens of variant cases that the variants do have him concerned.
“I feel like it’s dangerous, you know, really uncomfortable,” Zhang says. “We wear a mask every day. People are scared of each other. You don’t know who got COVID. And the kids go to school. You don’t know other kids’ family got COVID.”