If we know anything about Covid, we know that it’s constantly changing, as are our circumstances surrounding the pandemic. As we get further into the holiday season, people are traveling and things are changing even more quickly. Here’s a look at the latest updates in NYC.
Over 40,000 Vaccines Administered in NYC Schools
While there was some initial nationwide concern over whether parents would accept a Covid vaccine administered in schools, NYC is proving this to be a nonissue. At present, over 40,000 children ages 5 to 11 have received Covid vaccines at school. Across the city, more than 119,000 children in the same age range have been vaccinated.
New York City began offering the Covid vaccine in schools beginning in November. Eric Adams, the mayor-elect, says he supports vaccine requirements for children enrolled in city schools.
Upstate Hospitals Overwhelmed
Covid-19 cases in upstate Warren County are sitting at 93 cases per 100,000 residents — five times the rate in New York City. While the city has a 2% rate for positive Covid tests, that jumps to 12% in upstate New York. It appears that the city’s continued mask mandates and rising vaccine levels are helping to avoid the issues going on upstate.
As a result of the surging cases, hospitals have become overwhelmed. From Buffalo to Albany, the Delta variant has caused hospitalizations to triple since August. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of health care workers exited their roles due to both burnout and refusal to get vaccinated. As a result, hospital capacity has decreased by about 10%. Meanwhile, there’s a struggle to release dischargeable patients to nursing homes, as they, too, reach capacity.
As Omicron enters New York City and hospitals upstate continue to be overwhelmed, there is concern for what the upcoming months will bring.
Omicron Spreads to NYC
The city was once a global epicenter of the pandemic and health officials have been keeping a close eye for Omicron spread. There are now seven confirmed cases of the variant in the city, with an eighth in Suffolk County. The number of cases is growing around the country, with confirmed cases in many other states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, New Jersey, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.
Statewide, the number of positive Covid tests has doubled in the last month, with the brunt of that coming from upstate. 13 National Guard teams were sent to western New York county to aid with the hospital shortage and 120 troops deployed to support nursing home staff statewide, but the spread of Omicron is unrelated.
One known case of Omicron comes from a man who traveled from Minnesota to attend an anime festival in New York City, where 50,000 people were in attendance. Officials recommend those who attended get tested and wear a mask.
We don’t yet know how contagious Omicron is, whether the vaccine protects against it, and how sick it can make someone compared to the original strain. However, we knew that this variant was coming and we are not defenseless. The vaccine and booster are our best prevention options, as well as wearing masks.