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Don’t panic over omicron variant yet, expert says

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said there’s no reason to panic over omicron yet

A man walks through an empty airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A man walks through a deserted part of Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport in South Africa on Monday Nov. 29, 2021.
Jerome Delay, Associated Press

The omicron variant of the coronavirus is expected to hit New York state in the next few days, bringing the new variant into one of the biggest cities in the world.

South African researchers first discovered the omicron variant over the Thanksgiving holiday break. Scientists said the variant has dozens of mutations that might give it the ability to evade vaccines, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • Omicron variant cases started to hit the United States this week. Patients have been found in California, Minnesota, Colorado and more. New York City is expected to see cases as there is evidence of community spread, according to CNBC.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said there’s no reason to panic yet, according to CNBC.

  • “I will not cause a panic to the people of this state who have already been through so much,” Hochul said. “I am not an alarmist. I’m not considering shutting down schools or the economy at this time.”
  • “Imagine where we would be if we didn’t have the vaccination. Then we would be in a crisis situation,” she said. “I don’t see a return to that as long as the vaccine and the boosters continue to work.”

President Joe Biden said earlier this week that the United States will not go into lockdown yet because of the new omicron variant.

  • He said there would not be a new lockdown “for now ... if people are vaccinated and wear their masks,” Biden said, per BBC News.
  • “We’re going to fight and beat this new variant,” he said.