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New York Governor Kathy Hochul has declared that she will not reimpose state lockdowns despite a recent surge of Covid cases the past month. 

‘I’m not going to shut it down again, you can count on that,’ Hochul, 63, told John Catsimatidis of the ‘The Cats Roundtable’ in an interview Sunday.

‘I’m going to protect the health of New Yorkers,’ the governor vowed, ‘but I’m also protecting the economy.’

Hochul’s comments come as Covid cases in New York City and the rest of the state have surged in recent weeks. Pandemic restrictions like mask and vaccine mandates have been rolled back and daily life for many Americans largely returns to normal.  

Daily cases in the Big Apple have suddenly sparked from around 600 per day to 2,185 per day – an increase of more than 350 percent – Department of Health data updated April 15 shows, with several neighborhoods now sporting startling positivity rates of more than 15 percent.

State cases, meanwhile, have risen by a marked 600 percent since March, government statistics reveal, from 1,091 to 6,889 as of April 17. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared Sunday that she will not reimpose state lockdowns despite a recent surge in New York City and State of Covid cases the past month

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared Sunday that she will not reimpose state lockdowns despite a recent surge in New York City and State of Covid cases the past month

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared Sunday that she will not reimpose state lockdowns despite a recent surge of Covid cases in New York City and State the past month

Cases in across the country, meanwhile, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have shown similar increases.

The data does not count the many home tests that go unreported to health officials. 

The uptick, which experts have attributed to a combination of new sub-variants of the infectious Omicron variant and recently loosened restrictions, comes as an about-face from a recent downward trend of cases seen over the past two and a half months, that spurred the state and city to lift mandates.

Daily cases in the Big Apple have suddenly sparked from around 600 per day to 2,185 per day - an increase of more than 350 percent - Department of Health data updated April 15 shows

Daily cases in the Big Apple have suddenly sparked from around 600 per day to 2,185 per day - an increase of more than 350 percent - Department of Health data updated April 15 shows

Daily cases in the Big Apple have suddenly sparked from around 600 per day to 2,185 per day – an increase of more than 350 percent – Department of Health data updated April 15 shows

State cases, meanwhile, have risen by a marked 600 percent since March, government statistics reveal, from 1,091 to 6,889 as of April 17.

State cases, meanwhile, have risen by a marked 600 percent since March, government statistics reveal, from 1,091 to 6,889 as of April 17.

State cases, meanwhile, have risen by a marked 600 percent since March, government statistics reveal, from 1,091 to 6,889 as of April 17.

On March 4, New York Mayor Eric Adams revoked requirements that masks be worn in public schools and that proof of vaccination be presented by those dining indoors, using gyms and going to entertainment venues.

School mandates for children under 5, meanwhile, have remained, after Adams ordered they stay in response to the rising infection rates. 

Hochul, who is running as the Democratic Party nominee in the upcoming New York primary and general elections after stepping in for disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo last summer, lifted long-held indoor mask mandate implemented by the state in February.

Now, more than two months later, life for the state’s nearly 20 million citizens has largely returned to normal.

However, the recent surge has sparked fears of a return to lockdown measures, especially in New York City – once the US’ epicenter of the virus – concerns Hochul attempted to squash in the Sunday interview.

‘We are seeing an increase in cases and people are getting anxious, and that might affect whether people come at this time,’ the Democrat told Catsimatidis, when asked if the uptick may deter tourists from traveling to the city.

‘We are going to lean hard on this,’ Hochul said, adding that she was working with Adams, 61, to address the surge without affecting the city’s and state’s economy. 

Infection numbers in the city have steadily increased over the past month-and-a-half.

As of Friday, the COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City measured on a seven-day average was 4.46 percent, with some parts of Manhattan such as the Financial District and Lincoln Square now topping 15 percent, city data shows.

The numbers come as a significant increase from the 1.85 percent reported March 19. 

‘I’m working with the mayor,’ Hochul said. ‘We now have relationships with the mayor‘s office that didn’t exist for a decade,’ she then added, in reference to the strained relationship between Cuomo and Adams predecessor Bill de Blasio.

Hochul also added that the two were working to address the city’s also surging crime rate – a crime wave NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell says stems from ‘a perception among criminals that there are no consequences, even for serious crime,’ due to recent bail reform implemented by DA Alvin Bragg.

According to city data, during the month of March, major crimes including homicide and rape increased by 37 percent. 

In the city’s subway system, which has seen a rash of criminal incidents since the start of the pandemic that spurred Adams and Hochul to announce the Subway Safety Plan in February, felonies have risen 68 percent, NYPD data reveals.   

Most recently, a masked shooter – a career criminal from Philadelphia who published a stream of videos criticizing Adams for the current state of the city – struck further fear in New Yorkers after popping a smoke canister on a crowded train in Sunset Park Tuesday morning, before opening fire – 33 times – on those inside, injuring 10.

Sunday, Hochul told Catsimatidis she and Adams were working with local law enforcement to quell the crime wave, as New Yorkers return to in-office work and their pre-pandemic lifestyles.

‘We roll up our sleeves, we work with our law enforcement to get the job done, while respecting the rights of individuals, which is important to us as well.’

When asked why New Yorkers should vote for her in the upcoming elections, Hochul cited a strong work ethic and her desire to fight for the rights of New Yorkers across the state.

Hochul, pictured here with Mayor Eric Adams during the press event in February, said she is working with the new mayor to address the wave of cases. Former Lieutenant Gov. Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo last year, is running in the upcoming primary

Hochul, pictured here with Mayor Eric Adams during the press event in February, said she is working with the new mayor to address the wave of cases. Former Lieutenant Gov. Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo last year, is running in the upcoming primary

Hochul, pictured here with Mayor Eric Adams during the press event in February, said she is working with the new mayor to address the wave of cases. Former Lieutenant Gov. Hochul, who replaced Andrew Cuomo last year, is running in the upcoming primary

‘I’m the hardest-working person they are ever going to meet. And I fight like hell for them every single day,’ Hochul, who hails from Buffalo, told Catsimatidis.

‘I’m rough and tumble, I know how to get the job done, and I’m out there in communities, I know this state – having been lieutenant governor – I know it better than anybody. 

‘I know the problems of the people, I know the streets of New York, and I’m going to continue doing what I’ve done my whole life, which is fight for people.’

The gubernatorial candidate’s comments come days after New York City health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan announced that the five boroughs will shift to a ‘medium-risk’ level due to an increase in cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, and two new Omicron substrains, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1.

‘In the next few days, likely by early next week, we’re going to be entering a new level of risk, moving from a low-risk environment to a medium-risk environment on the basis of cases,’ he explained Friday.

Dr Michael Osterholm (pictured), of the University of Minnesota, has warned that the 'virus isn't done with us'

Dr Michael Osterholm (pictured), of the University of Minnesota, has warned that the 'virus isn't done with us'

Dr Michael Osterholm (pictured), of the University of Minnesota, has warned that the ‘virus isn’t done with us’

While New York may be able to weather the storm of these two new variants, the constant emergence of new variants – and new threats – over recent months has some experts still weary about the pandemic, even as cases continue to fall and many Americans plan to return to normal life.

‘We may be done with the virus, but the virus isn’t done with us,’ Dr Michael Osterholm, one of America’s top epidemiologists from the University of Minnesota, told UPI.

‘It is clear with the emergence of new variants that this virus isn’t going to go away and become dormant anytime soon.’  

Source: Daily Mail

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