The Mayor of Washington, DC, restores the citywide mask order and declares a state of emergency

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People wait in line outside a mobile testing site for Covid-19 in New York’s Upper West Side neighborhood on Sunday, December 19. (Angus Mordant / Bloomberg / Getty Images)

As the Delta and Omicron coronavirus variants spread across the country by the New Year, health experts are urging Americans to get vaccinated or boostered to protect themselves and others before they are at greater risk of infection.

Airport trips before Christmas almost doubled year over year, according to the Transportation Security Administration, with more than 2 million people being screened daily from December 16-18. And the indoor gatherings among friends and family could ultimately infect more people who are at higher risk of Covid-19 complications.

Omicron was identified in at least 45 US states according to state officials in their respective states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. And with Delta still present, cases are increasing in some areas.

new York – which was one of the hardest hit states at the start of the pandemic – set a new record for one-day Covid-19 cases on Sunday for a third day in a row, according to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office.

There is generally about a three week lag behind trends in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions, according to an analysis by CNN Health, but officials hope the state will be in a more favorable position than last year.

“This is not March 2020, we are not defenseless,” said Hochul. “We have the tools to protect ourselves and the vulnerable loved ones in our families: get vaccinated, get the booster, and wear a mask when you’re indoors or at large gatherings. Don’t take chances during the winter flood one.”

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that the state is preparing for a winter surge and hopes to fight the spread of Covid-19 with measures like government-issued home tests and hospital beds. Engaging health workers from other states is also critical, Sununu said.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan predicted the state will see “likely the worst surge in our hospitals in the crisis” in the next three to five weeks, telling Fox News Sunday that officials are “trying to do whatever.” we can do “to vaccinate the last 9.2% of our population.”

Bans would not be considered, he said, calling for a return to distance learning in schools as current protocols should suffice.

Read more about the variants and their effects here.


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