New York City Covid-19 Cases Stagnate

New York City Covid-19 Cases Stagnate

In New York City, the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 over an average of seven days has hovered between 6% and 7% for the past several weeks, a plateau that epidemiologists warn will be difficult to push down.

Most of the rest of the country hit a record postholiday peak in January and then saw a sharp drop in the daily number of new Covid-19 cases before a recent slowdown. New York City didn’t see as sharp of a peak, the drop-off hasn’t been as steep and the deaths weren’t as high, city health officials say.

What separates this post-peak compared with the one last spring, after the novel coronavirus ripped through New York City, is that all activities were sharply curbed last March and fear was running high.

Now, people are beyond fatigued with isolating, more of the city has opened and continues to open, and some people are less scared of the virus and changing their behavior, public-health officials say. An estimated half of the city’s recent Covid-19 cases are linked to variants first identified in New York or the U.K., which are more highly transmissible.

Dr.

Jay Varma,

a physician and senior adviser to Mayor

Bill de Blasio,

said the few tools that public-health officials have to fight the virus are beginning to wear thin.

Alerts and web-browser tools can help you book a Covid-19 vaccine appointment. WSJ’s Joanna Stern met up with Kris Slevens, an IT guy who has booked over 300 appointments for New Jersey seniors, to learn the best tricks to compete in the vaccine-booking Hunger Games. Photo illustration: Emil Lendof for The Wall Street Journal

“We’ve lost a little bit of the effectiveness of those things just because people really do see the light at the end of the tunnel and want to get there as quickly as possible,” Dr. Varma said.

Roughly 11% of adult New York City residents, more than 735,000 people, have been fully vaccinated.

It was a year ago that New York City largely shut down to stop the spread of Covid-19. City officials on Sunday held a memorial for the more than 30,000 residents who have died from the disease. Speaking at the memorial, Mr. de Blasio said the death toll “is a number we can barely imagine.”

“Everyone we’ve lost, what they did goes on,” said Mr. de Blasio. “What they contributed, what they created, the love they gave, goes on.”

Covid-19 continues to spread through already hard-hit areas of the city.

Covid-19’s Impact on New York City

Between March 5 and March 11, a dozen ZIP Codes across the city had seven-day positivity rates above 10%.

That group includes the Brighton Beach area, with a seven-day positivity rate of 11.13%, one of the worst in the city, and one of the highest death rates overall. Midwood, with a 12.28% seven-day positivity rate, has one of the city’s highest overall case counts per 100,000 residents.

New York City hit its peak of holiday-related Covid-19 cases on Jan. 8, with an average of 6,435 confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases over a seven-day period, according to city data.

On Jan. 27, New York state Gov.

Andrew Cuomo

said the state’s holiday surge had subsided; New York City’s seven-day average of newly reported cases on that day was 5,603. A month ago, the seven-day average of new cases was 3,906. On Monday, the city reported that the latest seven-day average was 3,123 cases.

Hospitalizations hit a seven-day high on Feb. 8, with an average of 413 patients in the hospital; deaths peaked in the days after and hit a seven-day average of 86 deaths on Feb. 16. The decline in hospitalizations has been steady since Feb. 26, with a seven-day average of 176 on Friday.

Without the new, more infectious variants, the city would have lower test positivity and fewer cases, said

Dave A. Chokshi,

New York City’s health commissioner.

“We do think with some more time that will create more downward pressure on the curve,” Dr. Chokshi said.

Seeing where the city is now in terms of case count, said Dr.

Krystina Woods,

associate professor of infectious diseases at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the bend downward will be slow.

And even though the current case count is high, some infectious-disease experts expected to see the numbers worsen significantly because of the variants circulating, said Dr. Woods.

“Thankfully, I think that needle hasn’t moved as much as some expected,” said Dr. Woods. “In some ways that’s reassuring, but it’s also one of these things that you’re almost afraid to say out loud because you don’t want to jinx it and you also don’t want then people to take that information and then be like, ‘Oh, it’s no big deal.’ ”

Contact tracers for New York City’s Test & Trace Corps have found that there is no unique chain of transmission for people who have been identified as having one of the Covid-19 variants, said Dr.

Ted Long,

executive director of the corps. Many of those with one of the variants also haven’t been on domestic or international travel, he said.

Contract tracers have found that some 80% of those who know where they contracted the disease say they got it from a household member, an intimate partner or someone at a social gathering. The two most common places where people are saying that they contracted the disease is at a home or in a workplace, said Dr. Long.

Write to Melanie Grayce West at melanie.west@wsj.com

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Source: WSJ – US News

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