Emergency orders meant to alleviate strain on healthcare systems, hospitals
Several states have reimposed emergency orders in the wake of a surge of COVID-19 infections caused by the omicron variant.
Officials from California, New Jersey, Kansas, Virginia, and Maryland have all announced emergency health orders that have been in place since the beginning of the year.
The executive orders aren’t lockdowns or shutting down restaurants and businesses, however, instead focusing on freeing up resources for state and local agencies.
Officials are also focused on helping hospitals which are becoming overwhelmed by patients infected with the COVID-19 omicron variant.
Phil Murphy, the Democratic governor of New Jersey, reassured the public that the orders won’t impact their daily lives.
“This is what this does not mean: It does not mean any new universal mandates or passports,” Murphy said, during a press briefing, reports CNBC. “It does not mean lockdowns. It does not mean any business restrictions or gathering limits.”
A monthlong order was also issued in Virginia in order to help the healthcare system and hospitals there, while California’s COVID-19 emergency orders were extended through March by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Infections of COVID-19 have surged in recent months due to the omicron variant, which has increased daily infection levels to record levels.
Over the past week the U.S. has reported an average of 743,000 new infections each day — three times higher than the previous record set last winter — according to John Hopkins University
The omicron variant is believed to be more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants, however it appears to lead to less severe illness, in general.
Omicron has also been found to be able to evade protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccine, which has led to more infections and filled up hospitals.