Long Lines Form for COVID-19 Testing in New York as Omicron Spreads

New York health officials said on December 16 that the Omicron coronavirus variant was spreading rapidly in the city, as authorities reported a sharp uptick in cases and positivity rate.

“Omicron is here in NYC and spreading quickly,” Dave Chokshi, New York City’s Health Commissioner, wrote in a tweet. “We’re seeing a surge of #COVID19 cases ahead of the holidays – the 7-day average for new cases has tripled in the last month. All boroughs remain in high transmission.”

New York City reported a positivity rate of 7.8 percent among PCR tests administered as of December 13, a significant rise from recent weeks. Jay Varma, a physician and health advisor to New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said the city had “never seen” a similar increase.

This footage, taken in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, shows long lines as local residents queued up for COVID-19 tests ahead of year-end holidays. Credit: Timothy Hunter via Storyful

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