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Variant Omicron plunges into New York City back to panic-stricken COVID city

As the US ends its first full year with a COVID-19 vaccine, the Omicron variant is threatening to last a typical year — with New York City among its first targets.

Over the past three days, the city has been hit by a record increase in COVID cases driven by Omicron, with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top medical adviser Dr Jay Varma tweeting Thursday. that “we’ve never seen this before in NYC. ”

Varma noted how the city’s daily positivity rate doubled from 3.9 percent to 7.8 percent between December 9 and December 12, sparking a wave of fear. New fear as the city promotes the relatively normal month. The city’s current seven-day average is 5.19 percent, according to city data.

It led de Blasio, who held a full-scale comeback event for the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square last month, is rethinking whether it’s still the best option.

“We made the decision a few weeks ago when things were much better. But we say only people who have been vaccinated,” he said Friday, according to NBC New York. “We will now reassess continuously with new information. We will follow the data and the science. Right now, it’s on. You know, we’ll make a decision as we go, getting closer to what’s going to happen in the end. ”

Other venues have been hit hard by this increase, with many restaurants and Broadway shows closing due to the COVID outbreak among staff, cast and crew members. One production, Moulin Rouge!, forced to unplug on Thursday after The audience was seated due to a case of COVID among the cast or crew. According to the CDC, New York and New Jersey have seen Omicron rates four times higher than other states.

The city has seen crowded lines at testing clinics because of increased anxiety caused by the virus, reminiscent of the city’s early days as the epicenter of COVID-19 in March. 2020. Crown Heights resident Ezra Benus told WLNY he waited almost two hours to take the COVID test on Thursday – after spending two months doing one test for five minutes a week. He said he was lucky he got a test.

“This is after coming in yesterday twice and then not being able to check in here,” Benus said.

Statewide, the situation is just as dire. State reports more 20,000 new cases on Thursday, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began. Thankfully, hospitalizations are very low, with about 1,000 people hospitalized in New York City, according to state figures. According to the city’s health department, about 71% of New York City residents have been vaccinated, and the Omicron variant does not appear to have caused more severe symptoms to date, especially among those who have been vaccinated. strains.

Governor Kathy Hochul has made it mandatory to wear masks indoors for places that do not require proof of vaccination until at least January 15.

Other Cities and States As if Houston and Miami are in the growing phase of their own Omicron, with public health officials urging people to get vaccinated and, if they do, get a booster shot. Studies have shown that the two-dose mRNA vaccine is impaired when confronted with Omicron, although this variant is not thought to be more severe than the previous Delta variant.

“For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of serious illness and death,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zient “For yourself, your family, and for the hospitals you might be overwhelmed with,” said in a public briefing Friday.

Dr Timothy Brewer, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California-Los Angeles, attributes the upcoming increase to a convergence of Omicron’s more contagious nature and colder winter months, which typically force people to people must stay at home. However, people should not use fear as the basis of response to variation, he said.

“Fear is probably never a helpful response to any problem,” Brewer told The Daily Beast. “In general, the less panic and fear the better.”

He said he does not anticipate another economic downturn, pointing to widespread vaccine availability and rising vaccination rates in the U.S. About 203 million people are fully immunized, According to CDC.

“It’s not a standard public health response to an outbreak,” he said. “What you want to focus on is isolating people who are sick, isolating those who are exposed, and using other precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining good hygiene.”

Still, Brewer says the best thing people can do is get vaccinated and get a booster shot if eligible.

“What I want to aim for is to maximize coverage of vaccines and boosters,” he said.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/omicron-variant-plunges-new-york-city-back-into-covid-panic?source=articles&via=rss Variant Omicron plunges into New York City back to panic-stricken COVID city

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