After officials confirmed that five people in New York State have tested positive for the Omicron variant, both de Blasio and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed they would consider tightening vaccine mandates to enable entry to certain venues.
"With all of our approaches to COVID, we're going to update them because we're dealing with some new challenges," de Blasio asserted on Friday. "We're going to keep updating policies regularly to meet this challenge."
The mysterious origin of the heavily mutated strain of Covid has puzzled experts ever since South African scientists alerted the world to its existence last week.
Omicron has 32 mutations on its spike proteins alone, nearly five times more than the previous variant, Delta. Additional concerns are that its highly divergent nature could make it more transmissible and that vaccines will be less effective at preventing infection.
Six more US states confirmed infections of the variant yesterday. However, the Delta strain likely remains a greater threat as winter nears and Americans gather for the holidays, experts warn.
New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Utah each reported their first cases of the Omicron variant on Friday.
Missouri was awaiting CDC confirmation of a case involving a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled within the United States.
De Blasio, whose final day as mayor is New Year's Day, expressed that he is even considering mandates that would require people who want to eat indoors or attend concerts to provide proof of receiving a COVID booster shot, in addition to already receiving two doses of the vaccine, the New York Daily News reported.
The city currently requires proof of one shot.
"That will be looked at along with a series of other actions because it's really dynamic right now," Mayor de Blasio went on to say.
While the Omicron variant was a priority, de Blasio stated that he is also still worried about the Delta variant spreading in the winter months when New Yorkers are forced to be indoors.