If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the new strain of COVID-19 that’s been discovered in the United Kingdom. At least 40 countries have banned travel from the United Kingdom and our governor, Andrew Cuomo, wants the US to do the same thing.

Health officials warn that the new strain of coronavirus is 70% more transmissible than the original form of the disease.

Governor Cuomo has been very vocal about his displeasure with air travel into New York from the United Kingdom. At least six flights arrive in New York daily from Britain. Governor Cuomo has gotten at least three airlines to require passengers to test negative prior to flying into New York. Delta, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have all agreed to the testing procedure.

Having these airlines work with him to restrict travel from Britain is a good thing, but Governor Cuomo says it’s still not enough. He says that the United States needs to have a national effort to restrict travel from Britain or we are all susceptible to the highly contagious disease.

Governor Cuomo says that although flights from London will be scrutinized when arriving in New York, they can still travel to other states and then make their way into New York with ground transportation.

Governor Cuomo has also taken an additional step. He announced that Wadsworth Laboratory will be working with the Department of Health to obtain samples of the virus found in the UK. Albany Medical Center and Saratoga Hospital will be working with other New York hospitals to research the highly contagious form of COVID-19. Thus far, the research has not turned up any samples of the new variant.

When Donald Trump was banning people from other countries everyone claimed he was racist. Diligence is required right now because we are at war with COVID-19. We cannot let our guards down now. We must continue to wash our hands, wear our masks, and we must continue to practice social distancing until the disease can be eradicated.

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