Mayor de Blasio says, “We Will Get Past Omicron, but Vaccination Remains the Key”
By Yehudit Garmaise
The Omicron variant will make for “a very challenging few weeks,” in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning. “But the good news is, based on what our healthcare leadership understands at the moment: we are talking about a matter of weeks.”
The mayor said that healthcare officials expect to see “a really fast upsurge in cases.”
“We are going to see a lot of New Yorkers affected by Omicron,” said the mayor, who said the while the city was still waiting for more research and evidence, “so far, thank G-d, based on everything we have seen so far, those cases, [among those who are vaccinated] are more mild than what we have seen previously.”
What the city’s Department of Health knows at the moment: “Omicron moves very fast,” the mayor said. “It is very transmissible.
“It moves fast, so we have to move faster. That is why we are focusing even more on vaccination. We do know that vaccination helps address Omicron.”
In fact, vaccination is the answer to protecting yourself and your loved ones, said Dave Chokshi, MD, the city’s health commissioner.
“So now, we have to focus on continuing to get folks vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated and getting them boosters, which makes a huge difference in how people will do” if they get infected with COVID in the next few weeks,” said the mayor, who added that the more people protect themselves with shots, the less hospitals will be overloaded it the coming weeks.
“The more people are vaccinated and the more people get the boosters, the better off our hospitals will be and our healthcare heroes, who have seen us through these past two years now.
“Do yourself a favor, do them a favor, get that vaccination, get your child that vaccination, that is the key to fighting Omicron.”
Mayor de Blasio said confidently, “We will get past Omicron.
“We will continue our recovery in this city, but vaccination is the key.”
Mandates, of course, remains one of the mayor’s biggest tools for getting New Yorkers vaccinated, and today, the mandate for the 102,000 childcare and early intervention programs workers goes into effect.
“City childcare workers getting vaccinated against COVID is smart, prevention policy,” said Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, who chairs the Council’s Women’s Caucus. “Let’s assume each childcare worker takes care of four to five children on average you are protecting the lives of nearly half a million children: Plus their families.”
Another mandate that the mayor reminded will go into effect one week from today, on Dec. 27, is the vaccine mandate on private businesses.
This private sector mandate is even more pertinent now,” said the mayor. “We had no idea Omicron would move this fast.
“We have got to avoid shut-downs and restrictions. We have to keep moving forward, and vaccination is the key.
“The mandate will keep us safe, and we are getting a lot of cooperation from the private sector. We have got to defeat Omicron.”
Increased testing is another tool the city is using to keep New Yorkers safe.
“We want to maximize the number of places New Yorkers can get tested, now, we have sponsored by the city of New York 89 testing sites in all five boroughs: those are both the brick-and-mortar sites and the mobile sites, the mayor said. “Coming this week are 23 more testing sites: three more mobile sites and 20 more brick- and-mortar sites, so by the end of this week, we are going to have 112 city-run sites in healthcare facilities, but also in other community settings: schools, libraries, community centers, and you name it.”
To find a site near you, readers can go to nyc.gov/covidtest.
In-home test kits also are available at drugstores, but you have to ask for them, as they are kept behind the counter.
“Testing is important,” the mayor said, “so that each person to know where he or she stands.”
“If you get test positive,” said Mayor de Blasio, “then you know to quarantine, and there is so much support for you through our Test & Trace Corps.
“We will get you whatever you need: whether it is a hotel room to isolate in, or whether it is food, medical support, and an amazing array of support: all for free.
“If you test negative, then great: you know you don’t have COVID.”
Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.