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Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

New York State to Impose Mandatory Masking or COVID Vaccines for Businesses

© AFP 2022 / Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesОфицеры полиции Нью-Йорка наблюдают за протестующими против вакцинации
Офицеры полиции Нью-Йорка наблюдают за протестующими против вакцинации - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The state of New York will impose mandatory masking for all businesses or require their employees to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, extending a similar mandate for New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I share New Yorkers’ frustration that we are not past this pandemic, but the winter surge is here and we must take action,” Hochul said via Twitter. “Starting Monday through January 15, businesses will have the option to implement either a vaccine or mask requirement.”
Hochul said her top two priorities were to protect the health of New Yorkers and the economy of the state.
“The measures I’m announcing today will help accomplish this through the holiday season,” she said. “To the more than 80% of New Yorkers who have done the right thing to get fully vaccinated: Thank you. Let’s get more New Yorkers vaccinated so we can put this pandemic in the rear view mirror.”
On Monday, New York City Mayor de Blasio said he was launching a “preemptive strike” against the new coronavirus Omicron variant by enforcing a vaccine mandate for all businesses in the city two days from 27 December and onward.
New York City was an early epicentre for the COVID-19 in 2020. The pandemic has so far infected more than 920,000 of the city's residents over the past 20 months, hospitalizing over 100,000 of them and killing more than 32,000.
It is not known how successful a blanket order on vaccinations in the city will be. Millions of health care workers across the United States were supposed to have their first vaccine dose from the start of this week under an order by the Biden administration, but legal challenges have stalled that mandate.
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