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New York City to implement new measures to prevent the coronavirus wave from worsening, including what its mayor says is a ‘nation’s first’ vaccine mandate for all private sector workers that will take effect December 27.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new requirements Monday on MSNBC Morning Joe.
The aggressive new measures also require proof of vaccination with at least one dose for children aged 5 to 11 to enter indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues. Proof of vaccination is already required for people 12 years of age and older to enter these locations in New York City.
De Blasio stressed that vaccination was the key to protection against the virus, including for children.
“Don’t find yourself in a situation where a child is left unprotected. I strongly urge parents to get vaccinated. It is safe. It has been proven. Here is another incentive to do so,” de Blasio said. .
The rules also increase the level of vaccination required to be in compliance with other city rules from one dose to two for adults receiving the two-shot mRNA vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
De Blasio called the measures a “preemptive strike” to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The mayor said more information on the announcement would be provided by the city’s health commissioner, Dr Dave A. Chokshi.
Underlying the decision, de Blasio said, concerns over winter weather and holiday gatherings are forcing more people to congregate indoors – where transmission is more likely – and unknowns about transmission persist. and the dangerousness of the omicron variant.
State health officials have identified four cases of the omicron variant in the New York City area, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday. De Blasio reported that community spread is believed to be occurring in the state.
“We knew it was going to happen in New York State at some point,” Hochul said. “We’re ready for it. It’s no surprise.”
Scientists are studying the omicron variant – which has already been found in at least 17 states in the United States – including the question of what protection current vaccines can offer against it. Early evidence suggests that omicron may evade the immune system better than previous strains, but officials say it’s too early to tell if it causes milder or more severe disease than the other variants.
The ubiquitous variant in the United States is still the delta variant, which causes about 100,000 cases per day. The number of cases is 50% higher now than a month ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.