New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he expects a rapid surge in cases of the omicron coronavirus variant that may peak in a few weeks. 

“We’re going to see a really fast upsurge in cases. We’re going to see a lot of New Yorkers affected by omicron,” he told a press conference via webcast.

“It’s going to be a very challenging few weeks,” he added.

The mayor said people infected with the omicron variant in New York are so far experiencing mild symptoms compared to what was experienced when the original strain of the virus started spreading two years ago.

“We’ve got to defeat omicron. We’ve got to avoid shutdowns. We’ve got to avoid restrictions. We’ve got to keep moving forward. Vaccination is the key,” he stressed.

Nearly 80% of the people in New York City have so far received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 71% are fully vaccinated.

The state of New York on Friday saw its highest single-day total of coronavirus infections since the pandemic began, reporting 21,027 positive cases.

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