New York City mayor urges Biden administration to send help as omicron cases rise
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging the Biden administration to send help to the city amid a rise in omicron COVID-19 cases.
De Blasio, during a news conference on Sunday, said “we need help now,” while specifically asking for more support when it comes to monoclonal antibody treatments.
“We need help now, because it’s not just about vaccination. Treatment matters, of course. And we need a surge of support in terms of monoclonal antibody treatments. We need more made available from New York City,” de Blasio said.
The mayor also called for the authorization of Pfizer’s antiviral pill to be accelerated. The company announced last month that the treatment cut the risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations and death by 89 percent compared to individuals who received a placebo.
Pfizer has since requested emergency use authorization for the treatment.
De Blasio on Sunday asked that President Biden invoke the Defense Production Act and utilize “every tool that the private sector has and the public sector has to continue to provide supplies here and around the country,” including vaccines and tests for kids.
The mayor’s call for help comes as COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in the city, driven largely by the highly mutated omicron variant. The seven-day average of new confirmed cases in the city has nearly tripled over the past two weeks, exceeding 5,000 on Sunday, according to data from the city.
The uptick in cases has already rocked the city — the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes” canceled the rest of its upcoming performances last week, and this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” episode was performed without a live audience and with a limited cast.
De Blasio on Sunday said the city is “feeling the omicron wave especially hard right now, but we know it’s going to be all over the country.”
“This whole country needs to go on a war footing to fight back. It can be defeated. It will be defeated, but having enough vaccine when we need it, having enough test kits when we need it, having enough treatment when we need it is key. And that’s what we need the federal government’s help with,” he added.
The mayor said he is “absolutely confident” in the city’s ability to fight back amid the omicron variant, and in the health system’s ability to sustain the new coronavirus spike.
He also emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated and receiving a booster shot, saying “we’re all going to have to focus on getting the maximum New Yorkers vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible.”
De Blasio is scheduled to depart office on New Year’s Eve, after which Mayor-elect Eric Adams will assume the post. De Blasio was barred from running for reelection because of term limits.
Adams at Sunday’s news conference said de Blasio has consistently reached out, communicated and coordinated with him so the city can “get through this virus and this pandemic.”