New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that she plans to introduce legislation that would change the state’s definition of “fully-vaccinated” against COVID-19 to include a booster shot.
“At some point, we have to determine that fully-vaccinated means boosted as well,” Hochul told reporters at a press conference Thursday. “And we’ll give people a sufficient timeframe to make that happen.”
CNY Central reports that the legislation would be presented shortly, but the changes would not be made until more data had been gathered and the legislation was thoroughly debated. Hochul also warned of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
“People are underestimating the power of Omicron because they say, ‘people aren’t getting sick, they aren’t going to hospitals,’ but if you have a million more people infected, that means you will have over-flowing hospitals at this rate,” Hochul said.
Hochul’s comments come as Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested that redefining “fully-vaccinated” to include a booster is “on the table.”
“There’s no doubt that optimum vaccination is with a booster,” Fauci said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” via the New York Post. “Whether or not the CDC is going to change that, it certainly is on the table and open for discussion.”
Hochul also addressed recent reports that as many as 13 counties would not comply with the statewide mask mandate. The Daily Wire reported Thursday:
The order from Hochul puts the onus on businesses: either checking customers’ vaccine statuses or enforcing mask-wearing…
According to the Post, the pushback from officials “accounts for nearly one-quarter of all the state’s territories, not including the five boroughs of New York City…”
Hochul announced the order on December 10, and it went into effect Monday. The order will be “reassessed” on January 15.
“Governor Kathy Hochul today announced masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement,” said a press release.
“As Governor, my two top priorities are to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy,” a statement from Hochul said. “The temporary measures I am taking today will help accomplish this through the holiday season. We shouldn’t have reached the point where we are confronted with a winter surge, especially with the vaccine at our disposal, and I share many New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic yet.”
She included blame for the unvaccinated, stating: “I want to thank the more than 80 percent of adult New Yorkers who have done the right thing to get fully vaccinated. If others will follow suit, these measures will no longer be necessary.”
“I have warned for weeks that additional steps could be necessary, and now we are at that point based upon three metrics: Increasing cases, reduced hospital capacity, and insufficient vaccination rates in certain areas,” the Democrat concluded.
“This is a crisis; this is a healthcare crisis and people are going to die,” Hochul stated, adding that if New Yorkers had gotten vaccinated earlier in the pandemic, she would not have needed to issue the mask mandate.
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