Omicron Continues to Spread Worldwide, Only Vaccination can Stop it
By Yehudit Garmaise
One day after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the state: including one in Brooklyn, two in Queens, and one in Long Island, at least four other US states have reported cases of residents who have been infected with the Omicron variant.
Minnesota, Hawaii, Colorado, and California have reported new cases of COVID that have been revealed to be the new Omicron strain.
While California’s first resident infected with Omicron was discovered in San Francisco, yesterday, Los Angeles reported a case, as well.
Scientists first detected the Omicron variant after cases of COVID surged from 200 to 2,500 last Thursday in Gauteng, South Africa, which reported the surge immediately.
Since last week, travelers returning home after visiting South Africa have brought back the new variant to dozens of countries, including Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, China: a list that the World Health Organization (WHO) expects to grow.
Although not a cause for panic, said President Joe Biden, the WHO has called Omicron a “variant of concern,” as it has mutated 30 times, which health experts fear could make the strain more contagious.
Omicron’s symptoms, however, appear to be mild and can likely be fought off with current vaccinations, as appears to be the case with the Omicron-infected patient from Minnesota who was found yesterday to have visited the Javits Center Nov. 19 to 21.
Gov. Hochul said yesterday that the vaccinated patient’s symptoms were “mild and have already resolved.”
As more cases of the variant emerge around the world, health experts say that the Omicron variant has likely been circulating and mutating for some time, which Health + Hospitals CEO Mitch Katz, MD, said viruses will continue to do until more people get vaccinated.
“Our cities and our counties are prepared for this,” said Gov. Hochul, who signed an executive order last week that hospitals suspend non-essential procedures to ensure that New York’s hospitals can provide enough beds for what may be yet another COVID surge. “We are ramping up our efforts to get more vaccinations out there. We are ensuring there is no area of the state where someone cannot easily access a vaccination.”
“There is “no reason why 100% of New Yorkers are not vaccinated.”
The problem now is not vaccine supply, which is plentiful, but New Yorkers who have made the decision to not get vaccinated, Gov. Hochul said.