New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul promised in a recent interview that she will not be shutting down New York again amid a growing number of COVID-19 infections.
The governor vowed not to impose COVID-related restrictions similar to those imposed previously that had ground the state to a halt.
In an interview on Sunday with John Catsimatidis, host of “The Cats Roundtable,” Hochul said, “I’m going to protect the health of New Yorkers, but I’m also protecting the economy. I’m not going to shut it down again, you can count on that.”
Hochul’s promise comes as New York City health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, disclosed that New York City, and it’s five boroughs, will be moving to a “medium-risk” level due to a notable increase in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron subvariant of the disease.
Vasan explained on NY 1, “In the next few days, likely by early next week, we’re going to be entering a new level of risk, moving from a low-risk environment to a medium-risk environment on the basis of cases.”
Currently, New York’s five boroughs are considered to be at a “low-risk” level for community spread, and health officials are saying that the new subvariant of Omicron, BA.2, as of April 13, accounts for roughly 80 percent of all infections in the state.
As of April 15, the COVID-19 “positivity rate in New York City measured on a seven-day average was 4.46% — up from 1.46% at the same point in March. Statewide, the seven-day average positivity rate was a slightly higher 4.68% — a significant increase from the 1.85% reported March 19,” The New York Post reported.
The first case ever recorded in New York State was confirmed on March 1, 2020, following which the state became the epicenter for the pandemic, with a record 12,274 cases reported on April 4 of that year.
The crisis prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency on March 7, 2020 which would be extended until it eventually expired, over a year later, on June 24, 2021.
By March 15 of 2020, all New York City schools were ordered closed until April 20 and on March 20 a state-wide stay-at-home order was declared. All non-essential businesses were ordered closed and all gatherings considered non-essential were either canceled or postponed, essentially locking down the entire state.
On April 15, 2020, the contentious state-wide mask mandate came into effect that ordered all residents to wear face masks/coverings in public places where social distancing was not feasible.
The state did not begin to open up again until May 15, 2020, when “Phase 1” of the state’s reopening plan was implemented allowing five counties, that met stringent qualifications, to begin to reopen.
Another “pre-emptive” State of Emergency was declared on November, 27, 2021 over the highly contagious Omicron variant.
It wasn’t until March 2 of 2022 that Gov. Hochul announced the lifting of the universal mask mandate for schools and allowed individual school districts, towns and localities to use their discretion to determine masking protocols based on their needs.