Amid rising COVID-19 cases across New York City, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams confirmed he has also tested positive and is experiencing mild symptoms.
The Democratic candidate for New York governor announced the news late Thursday, hours after posting a photo of himself quarantining away from his wife, who is pregnant, and stepdaughter while waiting for the PCR test result. The 45-year-old says he's fully vaccinated and has gotten the booster shot.
Williams' wife has tested negative, he added.
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He urged the city to transition to remote work "whenever possible," due to the recent spike in cases in which Dr. Jay Varma, a top advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, says the city has never seen before.
The health official said it was an indication of the omicron variant evading immunity in a way the virus never had before, but Williams says the city's protocols, such as the vaccinate mandates at restaurants and venues, are the best tools to fight the new variant and the pandemic.
"I know this moment is distressing, but we are not in March of 2020 --- we have the knowledge and the tools to protect ourselves and our communities that we didn't back then, Williams said in a statement. "We just need to learn the lessons of the failures at that time, and prevent them from recurring now."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the city will distribute one million masks and 500,000 home tests as part of the latest effort to fight omicron and delta spread.
The state's governor also said an online site would be set up where residents could ask for at-home tests to be sent to them, in targeted ways.
While only a few cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed so far in the city, federal health officials are estimating that it already accounts for around 13% of virus cases in the region that includes New York and New Jersey.
De Blasio said it's clear omicron is "in full force” and spreading.
“This variant moves fast. We need to move faster,” the mayor said at a news briefing in Brooklyn.