Despite NYC's severe COVID restrictions, outcome no different than anywhere else except unemployment
New York state set a record number of new cases in one day last week
New York City has the strictest vaccine mandates in the country, but is still seeing surging cases that are shattering records and landing the city in the same boat as states that have open economies and little to no mandates.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced 5,731 new cases in the city on Sunday as the omicron variant spreads, which is far above the average of fewer than 1,000 daily cases the city had early last month.
In New York overall, the state reported a record number of new cases in one day on Thursday, coming in at 21,027. The previous record was set on Jan. 14, when there were 19,942 reported new cases.
As cases rise, New York City – as well as the state – had already enacted strict mandates on vaccines and other requirements to avoid such spikes.
All city workers were mandated to get the vaccine; people dining indoors, going to the gym or visiting venues such as museums or concert halls must show proof of vaccination; children ages 5 to 11 are required to show proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities; masks were made mandatory again indoors last month.
This week, all employees of private schools – such as Catholic schools and yeshivas – were mandated to be vaccinated in the city.
NYC MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATE FOR PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS
Another mandate for all private employees working in the Big Apple requires them to show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27. The mandate does not include giving employees the option to get regularly tested instead of receiving the shots.
Some in the city have pointed to the annual SantaCon, which was held on Dec. 11 and featured thousands of people dressed as Santa Claus in a massive pub crawl, for the spike in cases.
"Be especially cautious about indoor gatherings where masks come off. (And yes SantaCon may partly be to blame.)," Mark Levin, the chair of the city's health commission, tweeted Saturday.
Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News contributor and professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told Fox News Digital on Monday that it’s possible SantaCon is behind the spike, but it’s "far more likely" indoor gatherings are to blame due to omicron "swarming."
Despite vaccine passports to participate in virtually all public events in the city and other strict requirements, New York is struggling with the spike in cases similar to states that have little to no mandates.
In Florida, coronavirus cases have more than doubled in the last week. While in Texas, health officials are bracing for a spike. And in Georgia, 3,094 new cases were reported Friday, the highest number of new cases in months.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been one of the most vocal state leaders in the nation to denounce mandates and restrictions implemented in other states, vowing repeatedly to keep his state and jobs open.
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"I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs, and today we made that the law," DeSantis said in a press release last month after signing multiple bills regarding vaccine mandates. "Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates, and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida. I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature for joining me in standing up for freedom."
The vow to protect jobs is reflected in unemployment data in the state. In the metro area of Florida’s largest city, Jacksonville, unemployment fell to 3.3% in November. The state’s overall unemployment sat at 4.5% in November, down 0.1% from October.
In New York City, the unemployment rate remains well ahead of the national average. The city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate sat at 9% in November, more than double the national unemployment rate of 4.2%. The figure is also higher than the state’s unemployment rate of 6.6% in November, which is down from October’s 6.9%.
New York's death rate per 100,000 people is also similar to Florida's, despite the Sunshine State's spike in cases over the summer. As of Dec. 16, New York shows a death rate of 300 per 100,000 people compared to Florida's 289 per 100,000 people.
Cities in Texas and Georgia also both enjoy lower unemployment than in New York.
Atlanta’s unemployment fell to 2.4% in October. The state’s overall unemployment fell to a new record low last month to 2.8%.
In Houston, unemployment sat at 5.1% in November, down from 7.9% during the same month last year. While Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked down to 5.2% in November. The figures are still, however, higher than the national average.
South Dakota, which also resisted strict coronavirus restrictions, is seeing low unemployment of 2.7% last month.
In New York City, business owners are sounding off on the strict requirements and renewed measures, saying they’re being required to police their patrons on following the city’s restrictions.
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"The mayor is asking store owners, business owners, restaurant owners to start policing people as they come into a restaurant to sit down," Mary Josephine Generoso, manager of bakery Pasticceria Rocco in Brooklyn, told Fox News earlier this month.
"It’s infringing on our liberties," she told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.
Job Creators Network president and CEO Alfredo Ortiz also told FOX Business this month that de Blasio’s mandate requiring private businesses to force all employees to get vaccinated is his "final insult" to business owners before leaving office next month.
NYC BUSINESS OWNERS REACT TO DE BLASIO’S VACCINE MANDATE
"His vaccine requirement on city employers of all sizes will exacerbate the historic labor shortage plaguing small businesses and comes at the worst possible time during the busy holiday season," Ortiz said. "It is a final insult to Big Apple job creators. Thankfully for New York City small businesses, de Blasio will soon be gone. So should his vaccine mandate."
The Democratic mayor has meanwhile stayed on message that his strict mandates will ensure the safety of New Yorkers.
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"We will get past omicron. We will continue our recovery in this city," the mayor said Monday. "Vaccination will be the key to all of this and New York City continues to lead the way in this country in terms of huge numbers of people vaccinated and aggressive measures to get even more folks vaccinated."