With the news that a new COVID-19 variant has been discovered, Governor Hochul issued a warning to New York residents. The new Omicron variant was found in South Africa initially but has since shown up in Israel, Botswana, and Hong Kong.

The World Health Organization says this new variant is concerning,

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant.

As many regions across New York State are already struggling to keep the Delta variant under control, Governor Hochul issued a statement on the new variant, warning residents to be vigilant in protecting themselves,

"I want to remind New Yorkers to continue taking the precautionary steps we know reduce the spread of this deadly virus: wear a mask in indoor public places, use proper hand hygiene, get tested, and stay home when sick. The vaccine also remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and this news further emphasizes the need for each of us to get vaccinated and get the booster if you're fully vaccinated."

Many regions in New York are currently facing a COVID-19 crisis like they were prior to the approval of the vaccine. Six of the 10 regions in New York have COVID-19 7-day average positivity rates above 5 percent.  For weeks now, New York City is the only region that has been able to maintain a 7-day average under 2 percent.

RegionTuesday, November 23, 2021Wednesday, November 24, 2021Thursday, November 25, 2021
Capital Region7.04%6.87%6.96%
Central New York6.48%6.34%6.46%
Finger Lakes8.56%8.56%8.85%
Long Island4.28%4.39%4.40%
Mohawk Valley7.80%7.76%7.75%
New York City1.67%1.67%1.65%
North Country7.35%7.73%7.82%
Southern Tier5.06%5.13%4.99%
Western New York9.88%9.77%9.67%



If this new variant makes its way to New York, which it most likely will, we could see a huge surge in COVID-19 cases, according to WHO,

This variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.

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