New Jerseyans cautious, but not overly concerned about omicron variant
World health leaders say that they are concerned about a new variant of COVID-19 that was first discovered in South Africa.
But as state and federal officials work to prevent the possible spread of this variant, there are many in New Jersey who say that while they will remain cautious, they are not overly concerned.
Bergen County residents were out in force as the holiday season begins. Many were at a menorah lighting in Teaneck on Monday night. Some had not heard of the variant.
“I think occasionally I might have heard something recently. But year, I’m not too concerned right now,” says one Bergen County resident.
She says that she is vaccinated against COVID-19, so she has peace of mind.
Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci just got his COVID-19 booster shot on Monday. But he says that omicron has his attention.
“It’s on my radar. I have that responsibility to protect 42,000 residents,” he says.
RELATED: State health officials monitor omicron variant; say NJ residents should continue taking precautions
The residents of Teaneck have come a long way since the start of the pandemic. The town once viewed itself as ground zero for the virus.
Around the state, the number of people in the hospital for COVID-19 has jumped almost 40% in a month.
Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the omicron variant during his Monday COVID-19 briefing.
“Let me just say this – do not get hysterical,” Murphy said.
He said that officials just don’t know enough about the variant yet. He advised New Jersey residents to continue taking the precautions they have been taking against the virus for nearly two years.
“Get vaccinated, get boosted if eligible, wear a face covering, wear a mask if you’re indoors,” Murphy said.
But even as many remain cautions, communities are still coming together to celebrate holidays. They are learning to live with the virus, no matter how much it mutates.
"We gotta get back to normal and work and play and live life and that's what it's all about and as you can see right here you got a bunch of people living life to the fullest,” says another Bergen County resident.
The governor says that he does not anticipate having to implement any new COVID-19 restrictions.