New York City’s transmission rate has gone up 32% over the last ten days as the city begins to be affected by what may be the fifth wave of the pandemic. Citywide the transmission rate is akin to the highs seen in February, looking at 232.5 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days. The city has raised the alert level to medium, which could mean the return of the mask mandate.
These numbers do not reflect people who have used an at-home testing kit and did not report illness to the health department.
Health officials have blamed the spike in COVID cases on the prevalence of the new omicron sub variants, BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.12. They have also stated that these variants are more contagious and transmissible than other variants. However, there has been no research to show that these variants cause more severe illness or that they reduce vaccine efficacy.
Thus far, the city has not reimplemented any new COVID protocol, but if the alert level reaches high, an indoor face mask mandate could return.
“The coming weeks will be critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and getting back to a low-risk level so we can more safely enjoy our spring (…) and remember, the steps you take to protect yourself also protect others, especially those most vulnerable. As a city, we have the tools we need to beat back this virus. As New Yorkers, we are in this together. By incorporating these steps into our daily lives, we can continue to look out for one another and ourselves.” said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.