Did Omicron reach its peak in New York? COVID infection rates slow – NBC New York

What there is to know

  • Basal viral rates are growing at slower rates in New York City, although they remain high; the number of cases decreases even as lagging indicators, hospitalizations and deaths, continue to rise
  • Governor Kathy Hochul says she believes the trend will continue, although she expects case rates to climb a little longer; she has not yet decided if she will extend the mandate of the state mask after February 2
  • Omicron now accounts for up to 99.1% of all cases in the United States, according to the CDC; Pfizer and Moderna are working on omicron-specific vaccines, but experts say it may already be too late to tell the difference

New York’s baseline viral rates continue to show gradual signs of improvement, hopeful governor Kathy Hochul said on Tuesday a day after the United States set a new single-day record for cases in the midst of the fierce omicron wave.

The percentage of positivity has declined over the past few days, with less than one in five Empire State COVID tests coming back positive for the first time in a month.

The state’s seven-day case average per 100,000 population is also leveling off – and Hochul reported a new daily workload below 50,000 on Tuesday for the first time since before Christmas.

“Yes, it is going down,” said a seemingly relieved Democratic governor from his office in Manhattan. “Looks like we might be crossing that peak. We’re not at the end of it, but I mean for me it’s a beacon of hope.”

When asked if she might consider letting her statewide mask term expire, which she extended until February 2 as part of her winter surge plan, Hochul said ‘she wished “to save a little more time. This trend is brand new. “



New York Department of Health

Case positivity and trend curves slow or level off in New York City

“I have to make sure it holds up first, and I’m expecting it, but I’m not going to guess in this case,” she added. “Since we still have a few weeks left, companies should continue to apply this throughout the month and we will give them more advice. It won’t be very far in advance. I need the luxury of the time.”

Hochul expects viral levels to continue rising in the upstate for at least a few weeks, even if they start to ebb down. She may be able to lift the mask and other COVID restrictions in some areas before others, but she is not there yet.

“I don’t have a metric I’m going to say, ‘Bingo!’ I’ll find out when I see it, “the governor said, adding that she would consult with experts before making any important decisions. “We couldn’t have predicted the magnitude of how this variant swept across the state. Having mask and vaccination requirements has allowed us to keep businesses open. has no written manual on how to deal with a pandemic. ”


New York City still holds the highest moving average, followed by Long Island. These two regions are the second most vaccinated for adults among the 10 regions in the state, but undergo much more testing than the others. This mainly explains the higher totals, although breakthrough infections contribute.

Hospitalizations for COVID climbed to 12,540 statewide, the highest total since April 27, 2020, and Tuesday’s new death toll of 160 is the highest death toll since the deployment of mass vaccination, but the rate of increase slows down measurably.

As New Yorkers so painfully learned at the onset of the pandemic, hospitalizations and deaths are delayed indicators – and the latter of the two will likely continue to increase for a few weeks after the state passes its last. peak case.

Daily totals, however, will almost certainly be much lower than the 800 New Yorkers who one day died in April 2020, a testament to the power of vaccination to prevent serious illness and death from COVID far better than natural immunity.

With omicron causing record infections in the United States, many are wondering which COVID-19 test is most effective.

The preservation of hospital capacity remains a major concern of the State. Hochul described current admission rates as still too high, especially for regions with lower overall rates but less ability to vary resources to cope with influxes.

New York City and Long Island, for example, have both led the ranking of hospitalized COVID patients per 100,000 since December 1, but those aren’t the regions that are at risk of overwhelming their facilities. Hochul said Tuesday she had suspended elective procedures in three regions – the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and central New York City – because current hospitalization rates put bed capacity there.

hospitalizations covid nys

NYS COVID hospitalizations from 2020 to 2022



Why are hospitalization rates higher in the most vaccinated regions? This is in part a reflection of their population density. But that’s not the only factor at play.

A surprising number of people hospitalized with COVID this month were not admitted for it in the first place, state data shows. As of January 9, only 58% of hospitalized COVID patients were actually admitted to hospitals due to COVID.

The remaining 42% were diagnosed en route, possibly as a result of the routine admission process. The state says this is an indication of the higher share of asymptomatic omicron patients and the higher share of those with milder symptoms, which may become more severe for people with one or more sub-conditions. underlying. They are the group that fell sickest in the midst of this latest wave, according to anecdotal evidence from at least one Manhattan emergency room doctor.

The ratio in New York is even higher. State data shows that 49% of COVID patients hospitalized in the five boroughs were not initially admitted for COVID.


“That doesn’t mean these are empty beds,” Hochul hastened to point out. “It’s still a very high number of people in hospitals who need constant care, who need nurses, who need doctors, who need people to take care of them.”

The data is still informative, however, as it sheds light on the seriousness of omicron cases as most hospital patients who test positive for COVID are not in the hospital because they tested positive, said the governor.

It also provides additional evidence that a large number of omicron cases may never be detected. the scope of this variant may never be known with precision.

And anyway, the share of total statewide hospitalizations for non-COVID and COVID reasons has changed dramatically in recent weeks. On December 21, just before the worst of the omicron hospitalization explosion, 84% of patients were admitted for reasons unrelated to COVID. That number is now 43%, Hochul said.

The developments come as recently released state breakthrough data highlights in stark reality the viral force that crippled the workforce in every key industry last month and continues to assert its power over the world, the reasons why Pfizer and Moderna are scrambling to make an omicron-specific vaccine that some say is already too late.

True, viral rates continue to rise for all key metrics, but the rate of growth appears to be slowing – considerably, at times – over the past week. Time will tell if this is a promising trend or just a small dip in this latest wave.

Dr Anthony Fauci told News 4 he believed the omicron peak could be in a few weeks – and CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky told reporters it was possible (although far from certain) that cases could drop as quickly as they rose.

Nationally, the prevalence of omicron is estimated at 99.1%, according to new CDC data updated on Tuesday. The agency estimates the share of variant cases in the New York City area, which for its purposes includes New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as well as the Empire State, is 99.7%.

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