Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ruled out imposing new lockdown measures Sunday as the omicron variant causes a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Mr. Hogan, a Republican who is term-limited from seeking reelection next year, told “Fox News Sunday” that his administration is monitoring the situation ahead of the Christmas holiday.
“We are concerned about the rising cases. We’ve got hospitalizations up about 150% over the past two weeks, and we’re taking steps to try to provide more support for our hospitals and we’re putting more into testing … encouraging boosters,” said the governor. “But we’re not anticipating any lockdowns at all, we’re not considering it.”
Earlier this month, Mr. Hogan announced a series of sweeping measures to help state health officials combat omicron. The new variant of the coronavirus is known to be less dangerous than prior versions but has been shown to spread faster.
Mr. Hogan said his administration is expecting omicron to become the main force behind coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the winter.
“We are anticipating over the next three to five weeks, probably the worst surge we’ve seen in our hospitals throughout the entire crisis, but we don’t expect it to last too long,” said the governor. “We’re hoping that it starts to taper off fairly quickly, but we’re facing a pretty rough time.”
Omicron was first detected by health officials in South Africa last month. Since then, the variant has spread to 89 other countries, according to the World Health Organization. Its severity has yet to be determined, although most medical professionals say current cases show the variant is less deadly, especially in vaccinated individuals.
“If you’ve had vaccines and a booster, you’re very well protected against omicron,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told ABC’s “This Week.”
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.