The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain of the virus in New York City, Health Commissioner Dave Al Chokshi, MD, announced Tuesday, and Mayor Bill de Blasio is resorting to a recently-employed method to convince New Yorkers to get boosted.
“Omicron has made booster doses even more important and urgent. Yesterday, the CDC estimated that Omicron is now responsible for 93 percent of cases in the NYC region,” Chokshi said in a statement posted to Twitter.
But New Yorkers are tough to convince. So tough, in fact, that de Blasio is willing to pay $100 per person to convince residents to get the booster.
As a means of fighting the skyrocketing increase of COVID-19 cases in New York City, de Blasio announced a return of the $100 incentive, this time for “anyone who gets a COVID-19 booster at a City-run site or with our partner SOMOSCare.
“This is a limited opportunity, through 12/31,” de Blasio added. “This is the moment. Get your booster and protect your family and city.”
The variant is not only spreading in New York, however — it has now been identified in nearly every state in the country.
The first US case of the variant was detected less than a month ago: on Dec. 1, 2021. However, it is now being diagnosed nationwide.
“As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement.
To be specific, as of Saturday, Omicron accounted for 73.2 percent of new US cases over the past week, according to the agency.
In some regions of the country – the Pacific Northwest, South and parts of the Midwest – it already comprises more than 90 percent of new infections.
In New York City, Manhattan borough president Gale A. Brewer announced that free, in-home COVID PCR testing is now available for all immunocompromised New Yorkers and people ages 65 and older. “Call 929-298-9400 to schedule and appointment,” she tweeted.