Just a few weeks ago, New York seemed like a relative bright spot in the U.S. coronavirus struggle. Now it’s a hot spot, confronting a dizzying increase in cases, a scramble for testing, a quandary over a major event and an exhausting sense of deja vu.
An Omicron wave of cases is washing over the nation’s most populous city, which served as a nightmarish test case for the country early in the pandemic. While health officials say there are important reasons why it’s not spring 2020 all over again, some Broadway shows have abruptly canceled performances, an indoor face mask mandate is back and testing is hard to come by.
With temperatures hovering near freezing, Nina Clark joined the testing line for the third time since her symptoms started Thursday. Once again, she ended up walking away.
“I stood there in the cold and said, ‘I can’t do this,’” she said. “Everywhere you go, there’s a line.”
As officials and health experts urged people to get not only tests but vaccine booster shots, an hourlong line for either one formed at a privately run pharmacy in lower Manhattan.
After closing some testing centers last month for lack of demand and in favor of pop-up testing vans, the city is racing to expand capacity again. The 130,000 daily tests at city-sponsored sites is already double what the number was just three weeks ago, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city would add 20 fixed locations and three vans this week. It also plans to distribute 500,000 at-home test kits.
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