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State of Emergency Declared in New York as Fear of New COVID Variant Grows

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Following in the shoes of a governor who won raves in the media for his disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is declaring a state of emergency due to a coronavirus variant that has not yet been found in her state.

Hochul succeeded former Gov. Andrew Cuomo when he resigned amid a barrage of sexual harassment claims. She is facing a Democratic primary against Attorney General Letitia James ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial election in this deep blue state.

“We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic. However, we continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said in a release issued by her office.

“In preparation, I am announcing urgent steps today to expand hospital capacity and help ensure our hospital systems can tackle any challenges posed by the pandemic as we head into the winter months. The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated,” she continued.

The order, which does not mention the Omicron variant by name, gives significant control over hospital capacity to state bureaucrats.

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According to the release, under Hochul’s order, the “Department of Health will be allowed to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures for in-hospitals or systems with limited capacity to protect access to critical health care services.”

The order took effect Friday and runs through Jan. 15.

In 2020, Hochul’s predecessor declared a state of emergency that lasted from March 7 through June 24.  It was during that time that the New York state health department under Cuomo, who was the beneficiary of national media adoration, issued the infamous order that required the state’s nursing homes to accept patients infected with COVID-19.

Although Hochul’s order lacks the sweeping power grab of some executive edicts, it does give Hochul the power to suspend or modify any local government action or rule that could be considered to inhibit the success of her order in addressing the dangers of COVID-19.

Is this just another attempt for politicians to have more control over U.S. citizens?

Omicron leaped to the world stage Friday after the World Health Organization, based on events in South Africa, called it a variant of concern, according to The Washington Post. The variant has also been detected in Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel.

As a result of the variant, travel from many African countries was blocked by the United State and many European nations.

Although the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said the variant has not been detected in the United States, White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci would not rule it out.

“Of course, anything is possible,” he said.

Amid health concerns, New York continued to wallow in Democratic Party bickering.

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Melissa DeRosa, who served as Cuomo’s top aide, issued a string of critical tweets and hissed at Hochul in a tweet that mocked her for hanging out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side while there was work to do against COVID-19.

“Time to shift with the times — ribbon cuttings and photo ops drinking beers in UES bars maskless won’t get this job done,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet, according to the New York Post.

But she had plenty more to say about the state’s current handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

She explained later why she deleted the one snarly message that she did.

“[I] communicated my feelings on that in a series of tweets, but thought better of one, which I realized might distract from the actual public health concern and so I deleted it,” DeRosa told the Post.

“Waking up to a post holiday emergency meeting of the WHO over a new rapidly mutating variant combined with the total lack of mask wearing in much of the state is triggering for any New Yorker who lived through March and April of 2020.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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