NYC Officials Say City Will Not Shut Down as Pfizer and Merck COVID-19 Pills Get FDA Approval

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Coronavirus, COVID, covid testing, COVID VACCINE, Media, Pfizer, Queens, NY, World News

By Jessica Easthope

Endless lines at testing sites have people fed up and the trend isn’t just at New York’s CityMD – it’s national.

President Joe Biden, in an interview with ABC News, again responding to suggestions that his administration failed to anticipate the need for more tests.

“No I don’t think it’s a failure, I think you could argue that we should’ve known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago,” he said.

But in the new year people could be able to treat COVID-19 at home – two pills now have the green light from the FDA: Pfizer and Merck.

“I’ve purchased several million already. I think it’ll be a matter of weeks to a month to get the pills,” President Biden said.

Both pills are recommended to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 at home but Merck only narrowly passed through FDA approval. Data shows it cuts the risk of hospitalization by 30 percent among high risk adults – lower than earlier testing that showed that number could be up to 50 percent.

As for Pfizer, the Biden administration is indicating that 250,000 treatment courses will be available starting in January, the first of 10 million courses purchased.

And in South Africa where the Omicron variant was first detected, one of the country’s top researchers says they’ve passed the peak of their Omicron outbreak and are now seeing a rapid decline me in cases.

In the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci also pointed to new data on the severity of Omicron.

“It appears that in the context of South Africa there is a decrease in the severity compared to delta,” Dr. Fauci said.

Fauci says more research is needed to know if that could end up being the case in the U.S. but here in New York City officials are keeping up confidence. Mayor Bill de Blasio reminded New Yorkers about the severity of the issue.

“I want to be really clear with everyone, it’s going to be a tough few weeks, but it will only be a few weeks. Omicron has come on real fast but it will be over soon. I am adamant and I’ve had this conversation with Mayor-Elect Adams and I know he feels the same way, we are not shutting down, we are not falling back, we are going to fight our way through this,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio says Monday starts the most aggressive vaccine mandate for private sector employees in the country. He says that is what will see the city through this rampant spike.