As the year comes to a close, fears related to the coronavirus continue to rise. In response, health officials in the city of New York are ramping up their COVID-19 mask advisory. Moving forward, all New York residents are urged to wear masks while indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
“I’m also issuing a commissioners advisory strongly recommending that all New Yorkers wear a mask at all times when indoors and in a public setting. Like at your grocery or in building lobbies, offices and retail stores,” New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner David Chokshi told reporters on Monday.
New York's mask advisory comes just a few days after the World Health Organization issued a warning about the omicron variant of COVID-19. While there are no known omicron breakouts in the United States yet, WHO says the emerging variant poses a "very high" risk for the nation. To combat this, public officials are asking citizens to get vaccinated.
“There are no omicron cases here in New York City at this moment. It is very likely there will be, but there are no cases at this moment,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNBC.
“Our entire focus once again is going to be on vaccination. Based on everything we know, vaccination is crucial to any strategy for addressing omicron.”
In addition to the mask advisory and encouraging residents to get vaccinated, de Blasio is expanding the city's vaccination requirement to those who work in childcare and early intervention programs. The compliance deadline is December 20.
Thus far, CNBC reports that 88% of New York residents are vaccinated and nearly one million booster shots have been administered. Health officials believe this will be key to combatting COVID-19 infections as the number of new cases rises to nearly 1,400 per day.