Officials: 4 new cases of omicron variant found in NY; 2 of them in Suffolk

Officials say four new cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed in New York – two of them in Suffolk County. That brings the count to 12 total cases statewide.
The state and doctors are urging people to get vaccinated, get their booster shots and wear masks to protect themselves from all forms of the coronavirus.
As for the new cases of the omicron variant on Long Island, it is not clear where in Suffolk the people are from or if they are related to travel and the original case found last week.
The omicron variant has been found in 19 states, but doctors say the delta variant is still the cause of 99% of current cases.
In addition, experts say it appears the omicron variant is less severe than delta, but quicker to spread; which could be advantageous.
"You have a virus then that could knock out a more virulent strain like delta and evolve to, what would be the best case scenario, evolve to essentially a common cold-like virus," says Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.
The variant prompted federal health officials to issue new travel restrictions across the country. Beginning Monday, travelers flying to the U.S. are required to show proof of a negative test within one day of boarding their flight.
President Joe Biden has also extended the federal rule requiring passengers on mass transit to wear masks through at least March. That includes the Long Island Rail Road, New York City subways and Metro-North trains.