New York City Sets COVID Vax Mandate for All Private Employers Despite Mild Omicron Symptoms

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces sweeping Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all private employers in New York City on Monday morning, even though doctors “not sure why” all the “hype” over Omicron.

QUICK FACTS:
  • De Blasio said the aggressive measure, which takes effect Dec 27 and which he described as the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as a “pre-emptive strike” to stall against Covid-19, The New York Times reports.
  • “Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,” he said in an MSNBC interview. “The timing is horrible with the winter months.”
  • However, the South African doctor who first flagged Omicron says it causes mild disease and few hospital admissions. Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, said, “From us as medical practitioners, we picked up, last week, the different clinical pictures, we looked at the advisory committees and so far what we have seen is very mild cases. [I’m] not sure why we are all up in arms.”
  • “It’s all speculation at this stage. It may be it’s highly transmissible, but so far the cases we are seeing are extremely mild,” said Coatzee. “Maybe two weeks from now I will have a different opinion, but this is what we are seeing. So are we seriously worried? No. We are concerned and we watch what’s happening. But for now we’re saying, ‘OK: there’s a whole hype out there. [We’re] not sure why.'”