New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) declared a state of emergency due to the new “Omicron” Covid variant spreading in Africa.
The declaration goes into effect on December 3 and gives the Health Department the power to limit “non-essential” procedures (will likely be enforced through the lens of equity) at hospitals.
“We continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said.
NBC New York reported:
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency ahead of potential COVID-19 spikes this winter due to the already-circulating Delta and newly-identified Omicron variants of coronavirus.
The declaration, which goes into effect on Dec. 3, will allow the state to acquire pandemic-fighting supplies, increase hospital capacity and fight potential staffing shortages. It would also allow the state Health Department to limit non-essential and non-urgent procedures at hospitals.
The variant contains around 50 concerning mutations from the original SARS CoV-2 virus that appeared in China in 2019, including more than 10 to the spike protein that allows the virus to access human cells.
In her release Friday, Hochul again urged New Yorkers to get the jab, noting that just under 10 percent of adults in the state hadn’t gotten at least one shot.
“The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated,” she said.