After being asked whether she would encourage businesses to shut down to stop the spread of the variant, Hochul told MSNBC on Friday that the data shows Omicron “spreads quickly” but is “not as dangerous.”
“So while primarily my number one goal is to protect the health of all New Yorkers, I also want to protect the health of the economy, because our economy – the epicenter of this pandemic 21 months ago – took such a hard hit,” the governor declared, claiming that people who are “vaccinated, boosted, and wear a mask” are “very safe to go out and continue their normal lives.”
Hochul – who replaced Governor Andrew Cuomo in August after he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations – said New York authorities would continue to monitor the variant to see if anything changes and people become more sick. But she added, “I don’t want this economy to shut down again, it was just so painful and I want kids to stay in school. I want people to go back to their universities.”
“I don’t want to have this artificial suppression based on fear when we are in a far better place than we were so many months ago,” she concluded.
On Friday, the state surpassed its previous all-time record for the number of daily cases, recording 21,027 new infections. Cases of Covid-19 in New York City have risen by 155% in the past two weeks, while hospitalizations have risen by 48%. The city has recorded 172 Covid-19 deaths in the same time span.
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