Across New York the Delta variant has caused a surge of new cases and rising hospitalizations, presenting New York’s incoming governor, Kathy Hochul, with a major public health challenge that is likely to grow between now and the day she officially takes office in two weeks.
Ms. Hochul, who is currently the lieutenant governor, declined to say much that was concrete about the direction she would take on the state’s Covid-19 policies when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo steps down. Mr. Cuomo announced his resignation on Tuesday after a sexual harassment scandal.
But Ms. Hochul, a moderate Democrat from the Buffalo area who has kept a low profile as lieutenant governor, will soon confront a raft of difficult decisions on everything from guidance on mask rules to vaccine mandates.
In her first news conference on Wednesday as the soon-to-be-governor, Ms. Hochul did not say whether she would declare a new state of emergency to respond to rising transmission, as Mr. Cuomo did last year in March at the height of the pandemic, a restriction that was only lifted in late June of 2021.
She said she would use the next two weeks — while Mr. Cuomo remains governor — to consult with health experts and federal health authorities as she formulated a plan. She added that increasing vaccinations would be her focus.
“I can assure everyone that we’ll be looking at all options, but I believe that the key to get through this has been before our eyes for months,” she said. “It’s as simple as more people getting vaccinated.”
Though the number of new infections and hospitalizations recorded each day are well
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