The new COVID variant Omicron, first detected in South Africa in late November, has not yet reached New York City but is expected to hit the most populated U.S. city in the “coming days,” according to health officials.
“There’s no question that it will be detected in New York State and in New York City, but it has not yet been detected,” Dr. Mary Bassett said, who stepped in as the health commissioner on Wednesday.
Minnesota health officials confirmed their second case of the Omicron variant in a man who had just arrived from New York City.
“We now have an exposure,” Bassett said, "We fully expect that it will be detected in the coming days.”
The Omicron strain could be the fourth COVID variant detected in New York this year, as Iota, Alpha and Delta have all been confirmed to date.
Although it seems like it is simply a matter of time before New York confirms an Omicron case, local health officials believe they are prepared.
“I think we are potentially more prepared than most,” said Dr. Bernard Camins, medical director of infection prevention for the Mount Sinai Health System. “The question is whether at this point people are more fatigued from all those mitigation strategies, and they may not listen.”
According to the New York Times, daily COVID cases since Nov. 1 have risen more than 75%.