Omicron in NYC: Health commissioner addresses questions, concerns


NEW YORK — There are five cases and counting of the new omicron COVID variant across New York City and Long Island, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday night.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, who was also at their briefing, spoke with the PIX11 Morning News on Friday to share the latest on omicron in New York and what New Yorkers can do to protect themselves the most.

Chokshi said the new cases lead us to believe there is already community spread of the mutation, but not much more is known about it for sure.

The health chief said doctors and health officials need more time to look at the science of the new variant before they can determine its transmissibility, or how well it spreads, as well as how well the vaccines stand up to it.

Chokshi reminded New Yorkers that the best thing to do now is get vaccinated, especially for children to get their shot and for older adults to get their booster shot.

Additionally, step up the mask use, especially indoors and in other public gatherings, the doctor said.

He also recommended getting a COVID test if you’ve traveled, gone to a gathering or have any symptoms.

While Chokshi said there is some reason for concern, Gov. Hochul said on Thursday it was not a time to panic.

Currently, the delta variant still makes up about 95% of current COVID cases in the New York area, according to Chokshi.

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