New York Reports Minor Increase in COVID Cases: A Warning from Officials
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New York Reports Minor Increase in COVID Cases: A Warning from Officials

Despite the increase, several epidemiologists expressed doubt that there would be a large wave of cases in the coming weeks, citing the fact that the mix of Omicron subvariants circulating in New York has not changed dramatically this summer.

Several factors, according to epidemiologists, are likely contributing to rising transmission, including a few days of scorching heat that kept many people indoors, where respiratory viruses spread more easily. Immunity is also waning for the millions of New Yorkers infected during earlier Omicron waves.

“It is been a while since the last major outbreak when a large number of people would have been infected,” said Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.

So far, New York City has seen seven waves of Covid-19, four of which have occurred since the Omicron variant first appeared at the end of 2021.

Dr. Nash estimates that more than 20% of New Yorkers have had Covid-19 three or more times, including himself. In a phone interview on Wednesday, he said he was just getting over his third fight. “I was relieved that it was not as rough as the other two.”

It is difficult to say how many other people have become ill with Covid-19 in recent weeks. The vast testing apparatus in New York City has largely closed, and many people no longer bother with at-home tests.

Few infections are ever recorded in official case counts. As of July 24, the daily average number of new cases in New York City was 363.

However, the State Health Commissioner, Dr. James McDonald, reported that there has been an escalation in hospital admissions by approximately 22 percent in the past week across the state. Moreover, the quantity of disclosed cases has experienced a significant surge of 55 percent.

“As we once again see an increase in cases of Covid-19 in the state, I urge all New Yorkers to remember Covid is a treatable disease,” Dr. McDonald strongly encouraged those infected to contemplate the use of antiviral medications like Paxlovid, in his statement.

Epidemiologists Doubt Major Wave in Latest Case Uptick

Despite the increase, several epidemiologists expressed doubt that there would be a large wave of cases in the coming weeks, citing the fact that the mix of Omicron subvariants circulating in New York has not changed dramatically this summer. (Photo by Matthias Churchill via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Epidemiologists expressed skepticism regarding the latest increase in cases, doubting that it would escalate into a significant wave.

Dr. Jay Varma, an epidemiologist at Weill Cornell Medical College, who played a crucial role in overseeing the city’s Covid-19 response in 2020 and 2021, stated, “There seems to be some level of stability in the balance between immunity and what the virus is doing.”

“The virus does not appear to be evolving to become either more transmissible or more lethal at this point.” he also added.

Despite a clear rise in transmission, indications suggested that the number of infections remained relatively low, and severe illness was not widespread.

In New York City, the count of hospitalized Covid patients on Monday slightly exceeded 300. Throughout much of July, this number had been below 200. Despite the increase, 300 patients still mark one of the lowest counts over the past three years. At the beginning of 2023, New York City hospitals had around 1,800 Covid patients.

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Source: The New York Times

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