NY governor declares state of emergency to prepare for Omicron variant

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency to prepare for the new coronavirus variant Omicron, first identified by South African scientists.

Hochul’s declaration on Friday is one of the first emergency steps taken by a state in the United States against Omicron, whose discovery was announced Thursday.

Biden administration spokesman Anthony Fauci said in an interview on Friday that there have been no omicron cases detected in the U.S., although he acknowledged that doesn’t rule out the possibility the variant could be in the country.

“We continue to see warning signs of spikes in COVID this winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said in a tweet.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) declared a state of emergency to prepare for a new coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.

Hochul’s declaration on Friday is one of the first emergency steps taken by a state in the U.S. against the new variant, known as omicron, whose discovery was announced Thursday.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said in an interview Friday with CNN that there have been no omicron cases detected in the U.S., although he acknowledged that doesn’t rule out the possibility the variant could be in the country.

“We continue to see warning signs of spikes in COVID this winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said in a tweet.

The executive order, in effect until at least Jan. 15, allows nonessential procedures to be postponed in hospitals in order to increase hospital capacity.

The U.S. has already restricted travel from several South African countries in order to mitigate the spread of omicron.

Omicron was first detected in South Africa but has been found in several other countries, including Israel and Hong Kong.

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