Covid Updates: New York reports record of cases in one day

Credit…Gabby Jones for The New York Times

New York officials reported 21,027 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, the highest one-day total since the earliest days of the pandemic, where the availability of testing was not as widespread as it is now.

The data, which reflected test results for Thursday, showed a drastic change in the virus’ presence in New York. For weeks, the number of cases had increased steadily, primarily due to a winter increase driven by the Delta variant. But the increase in recent days is due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, epidemiologists believe.

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiology professor at Columbia University, said that for now, the Omicron variant appeared to infect more people in New York than in other parts of the country.

“That way, it reminds me of March 2020,” she said. “We’re taking the first wave of Omicron in this country, and like the last time in New York, we’ll essentially be the test area for what this variant will do.”

Virus cases in the state have increased 56 percent within the past 14 days, and hospital admissions have increased by 25 percent over the same period, even though they are well below the peaks in the past two years. according to The New York Times’ tracker. By Thursday, the state’s positivity had increased almost 8 pct.

Source: State and local health authorities. Daily Cases is the number of new cases reported each day. The seven-day average is the average of the last seven days’ data.

The rise in cases, Governor Kathy Hochul said last Friday, “is a reminder that the pandemic is not over yet and we need to take extra care to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

Earlier in the week, in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus – especially with the winter and holiday season at hand and many people planning to travel and spend more time indoors – Ms. Hochul imposed a nationwide mandate requires the wearing of masks in all indoor public spaces that do not require proof of full vaccination against the virus in order to enter.

In a high-profile sign of the impact of the increase on life in New York, the producers of Radio City Music Hall’s enduring Christmas show with the Rockettes starring late Friday said they would end this season’s race completely over “rising challenges from the pandemic.”

The announcement followed canceled appearances of a number of Broadway shows and decisions by some New York colleges to cancel some activities or conduct final exams at a distance.

In another attempt to limit the spread of the virus, Ms. Hochul also said government officials planned to change the definition of fully vaccinated to include receiving a booster dose.

“People who are certainly eligible, we want them to do it, but in terms of requirements, we just have to make sure we adapt to the necessary flexibility, but we get it done,” the governor said in an interview with CNN. . She noted that individuals who had recently been vaccinated were not yet eligible to receive booster shots.

In New York City in recent days, the number of cases has doubled from a week ago.

“This big leap that only happens when something big changes, and the only big thing that has changed in the whole city is Omicron,” said Dr. Denis Nash, Professor of Epidemiology at the CUNY School of Public Health. However, there is little reliable, up-to-date data indicating what percentage of the new cases in the city are caused by the variant.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged New Yorkers to get booster shots quickly.

“People need to be vaccinated right now, get that booster right now,” he said Thursday. “If they’re not feeling well, get tested right now. It’s an emergency.”

On Thursday, the mayor announced announced a plan to confront the increase in cases by, among other things, plans to distribute one million free KN95 masks and 500,000 home tests, enforce mask and vaccine mandates more strictly, and expand hours and capacity at city-run test sites.

Many New Yorkers have been rushing lately to get test kits at home, with some stores selling out, and the queues of people waiting at some test sites have wrapped around blocks. The Omicron variant has been across New York, also among vaccinated.

“Two of my friends who were vaccinated – one who was boosted – got Covid last week,” said Gene Goldstein-Plesser, 32, while waiting to be tested at a city-run site in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn d. Thursday. “I literally just got an email that a party I was going to this weekend has been canceled.”

Mr. Goldstein-Plesser said the hardest part of the climb was “going back to the awful math around, like, where are you willing to take risks? And where are you not willing to take risks in your own life?”

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services. The seven-day average is the average of one day and the previous six days’ data. Currently hospitalized, the most recent number of patients with Covid-19 has been reported by state hospitals for the four days prior. Drops and peaks may be due to inconsistent reporting from hospitals. The number of admissions early in the pandemic is underestimated due to incomplete reporting from hospitals to the federal government.

The number of single-day cases announced on Friday may not be the highest of the pandemic because a number of virus cases were unreported early as the test infrastructure was not fully in place. But it is still clear that cases have increased significantly in the state.

The Omicron variant appears to be spreading rapidly among both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Nowhere is this clearer than at Cornell University in Ithaca, where 99 percent of the students on campus have been vaccinated against the virus.

Still, the number of cases among students increased this week. There was 1,567 student cases in the seven-day period ending Thursday, out of more than 26,000 students. The positivity rate was over 7 percent.

Only a fraction of positive cases are analyzed to determine if they are Delta, Omicron or another variant. But in Tompkins County, which includes Ithaca, about 117 Omicron cases have been detected, more than in any other county, according to the governor’s office.

Cornell officials moved campus to “Alert Level Red” for the first time in the last three semesters following an increase in the number of cases, introduced a series of security measures that included moving final exams online and canceling a December exam. New York University, which is also facing an increase, canceled “unnecessary” gatherings this week.

Matt Stevens contributed with reporting.

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