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Gov. Lamont remains optimistic despite new COVID-19 variant

Lamont says he does not anticipate any new restrictions being put in place due to the state's high vaccination percentage and hospitals having plenty of capacity.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In response to confirmation that the COVID-19 Omicron variant has now been discovered on our doorstep in Canada, Gov. Ned Lamont said Connecticut must remain vigilant, which includes being vaccinated.

RELATED: Local health experts provide insight on the COVID-19 Omicron variant

Lamont said Monday he spoke with experts in the scientific community over the weekend about the potential impact of the new variant. Among those offering insight was Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2017-2019.

"He said something I thought [was] encouraging, which is that the booster works almost immediately against this new variant," the governor said.

However, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said Monday that it remains unclear if the Omicron variant can be neutralized by our current COVID-19 vaccines.

"The scientists told me based upon all their lab analysis that the vaccine, especially freshly boostered vaccine, will work very well," Lamont added.

The scientists also said they need two weeks of testing in the field to verify their beliefs.

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"They feel very confident that getting the booster really makes a big difference," he said.

Some travelers at New Haven's Union Station were not surprised, but disappointed to hear news of the latest variant.

"It’s concerning," Jessica McCurdy, a college student from Florida told FOX61. "We had a conference that was supposed to be next week that got canceled in Prague. So, it’s definitely disrupting things."

One man, awaiting a train to Hartford, said the state just has to do what we know helps us.

"We'll never get rid of it completely, but we have to minimize it for our sake and for the sake of the people around us," Steve Pier said.

Lamont says he does not anticipate any new restrictions being put in place here in Connecticut. That is in part due to the state having such a high vaccination percentage and its hospitals having plenty of capacity, despite the recent surge. 

RELATED: What do we know about Omicron variant? And why are scientists so worried?

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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