What New Yorkers Need to Know About the Arrival of Omicron and the Delta Wave Hitting the Holidays

So all the experts said this would come, and although I’m sure some of us have flashbacks to the anxiety we felt back in March 2020, both Governor Hochul and Mayor de Blasio say we should not panic. , and that we are in a very different place now than we were then.

We are without a doubt. I ask you this: How and to what extent?

We are a very different place now because we understand how the virus is transmitted. And we understand how we prevent the transmission of the virus and protect ourselves. We know we do not have to resort to lockdowns. We know what works.

This virus is an airborne virus. It is transmitted through the air, which means things like masking, ventilation, air filtration, HEPA air filtration units that you can buy and put in the home – all of these things work. We also now have lightning tests that are becoming more and more available, and the Biden administration announced yesterday that the purchase of lightning tests for home use will be reimbursed by the insurance company.

They will distribute rapid antigen tests through local health centers and food banks for uninsured people. Then vaccination and boosting will naturally protect you. We did not have all these tools in March 2020. We have all these tools now and we should use them fully.

The governor, the mayor and the health authorities all emphasize the importance of being vaccinated. That message is clear, especially with the arrival of Omicron, but doctors and researchers also say that one of the most worrying things about this variant is its potential ability to avoid antibodies.

How sure are you that our current vaccines will protect us?

This is a real concern and I have to be honest – I was not convinced about the data on boosters before the advent of omicron. The data were very strong for the elderly, for people who are immunocompromised and people living in nursing homes.

But I think the advent of the omicron variant really changes that calculation. What we are seeing is that if you give an extra boost to a vaccine – and given what we saw with an earlier immunosuppressive variant, the beta variant – it is that you can overcome that resistance to the vaccine, that immune evasion. And that’s why I now agree – and many of us do – that you should not only be fully vaccinated, but also receive the extra dose of vaccine. This will help overcome any issues specific to the omicron variant.

What about people who are unvaccinated but who have previously recovered from an infection. Would their so-called natural immunity be enough to fight omicron?

Yes, the answer to that is no. And in fact, one of the reasons the World Health Organization declared omicron as a variant of concern, due to having seen evidence of people in South Africa who had previously been infected. Just to give you some context: In Johannesburg, between 60% and 80% of the population there has been infected.

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