NYC COVID-19: New York’s positivity rate almost doubled in 3 days


NEW YORK – Alarmed by a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and the increasing prevalence of the omicron variant, New York City officials were scrambling to distribute one million masks and 500,000 home tests, said the Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The mass distributions are part of a larger plan to counter the spread of the virus that also includes making testing more readily available at more sites and for extended hours.

The state governor also said that an online site will be created where residents can request home tests to be sent to them, in a targeted manner.

While only a few cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed so far in the city, federal health officials estimate that it already accounts for around 13% of the virus cases in the region that includes New York and New Jersey. .

De Blasio said it was clear the omicron was “in full force” and spreading.

“This variant is evolving quickly. We have to go faster,” the mayor said at a press briefing in Brooklyn.

Dr Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior health adviser, tweeted on Thursday that the test’s positivity had doubled in the previous three days.

“Um, we’ve never seen this before at #NYC,” he tweeted.

He went on to say that omicron escaped both the vaccine and virus-induced immunity “unlike any variant before.”

“This is the only explanation for the dramatic leap in positivity,” he wrote. “The consensus for now (but subject to change) is that immunity * to critical illness * should be much better.”

New York state reported nearly 18,300 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, the third-highest total for a single day since COVID-19 tests became widely available to the public in the spring of 2020. Nearly 83,000 people tested positive within the seven-day period. which ended on Wednesday, the highest number for such a period since last January.

New York City has been largely untouched by the worst of the great wave of COVID-19 cases that has taken place in the Northeast and Midwestern United States since Thanksgiving, but the situation has changed quickly in recent days.

One million N95 masks will be distributed for free through the city’s Test & Trace Corps, community organizations and clinics. The 500,000 free home tests will also be distributed through community organizations, the mayor said.

The plan also includes enhanced business inspections to verify compliance with the city’s immunization mandates and a media campaign to promote booster injections.

“I expect cases to continue to increase in the coming days, and this is based on the trajectory we are following in other countries like South Africa, the UK and Denmark,” said City Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi.

Chokshi was posting an updated advisory detailing the steps New Yorkers should take to limit the spread of the virus.

De Blasio said they may change current plans to allow a crowd to enter Times Square this New Years Eve.

Several Broadway shows, including “Hamilton,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” have canceled performances in recent days due to cases of the virus in their fully vaccinated cast and crew.

Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday that an online portal would allow New Yorkers to request home tests and that there would be targeting of areas with criteria, such as the fewest people vaccinated and case rates. higher.

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