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New York state to impose new COVID-19 restrictions amid Omicron variant fears


New York state to impose new COVID-19 restrictions amid Omicron variant fears

Mark Kauzlarich Bloomberg
Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

New York state will impose restrictions on non-essential hospital procedures beginning today.

The restrictions were announced on November 26 by New York governor Kathy Hochul to ensure hospital capacity during a likely winter COVID-19 surge while also limiting the potential impact of the Omicron variant.

New York state has recorded over 2.8 million COVID-19 cases and over 58,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Although 68% of New York state residents are fully vaccinated and 90% of New York City residents have received at least one dose, Omicron’s increased reinfection rate and potential for vaccine breakthrough could undermine efforts to reduce daily case counts, hospitalizations and fatalities. The state’s hospitals are also facing a staffing shortage that increases their vulnerability to spikes in admissions.

Expect the restrictions to continue until at least next spring if hospitalization rates increase. If hospital capacity is overwhelmed, expect the introduction of economically harmful restrictions such as state and international travel bans and business closures. Due to New York’s status as a tourist and transportation hub, expect the economic disruptions caused by these restrictions to spill-over into the broader US economy and undermine the country’s recovery from the pandemic.

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