New York’s Stubbornly High Covid Rates Complicate Reopening

The burden from Covid-19 is weighing more heavily on hospitals in New York than anywhere else in the U.S., even as Governor Andrew Cuomo takes steps toward rolling back pandemic protections.

New York’s total hospitalizations for Covid-19 have dropped by more than a third in a month. Still, its current rate of hospitalizations for the virus per 100,000 residents is 27, the highest in the U.S., according to Covid Tracking Project data.

Emergency-department visits for Covid-like illness in the Empire State recently rebounded to about 4.4% of visits overall, according to the most recent National Syndromic Surveillance Program data through Sunday. That compares with about 2.5% nationally.

New York’s Stubbornly High Covid Rates Complicate Reopening

Overall, conditions have been improving dramatically across America, and New York is no exception. The vaccination campaign has now reached about half of Americans 65 and older, who account for at least in 4 in 5 Covid-19 deaths. Yet authorities remain wary of fast-spreading variants, which have the potential to hit especially hard in dense urban areas like New York City.

Still, the state has been taking small steps toward rolling back restrictions. Cuomo said Wednesday that live concerts and shows can resume in April with as many as 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors. Domestic travelers to New York who have been vaccinated no longer have to quarantine upon arrival.

Traffic at New York retail and recreation locations hit the highest since December last week, according to the most recent data from Google Community Mobility Reports. On average, traffic was about 31% below a prepandemic baseline in the period, but that’s up from 45% below the baseline in the first week of February.

Much of the country has been changing its behavior. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said this week he would lift the state’s mask mandate and allow all businesses to open at 100% capacity.

The U.S. posted 65,909 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average down to 64,414, the lowest since Oct. 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 518,000 people have died.

  • New York added 6,564 cases in the period, and the seven-day average climbed slightly to 7,460, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • In the past week, an average of 2.01 million doses of Covid vaccine were administered, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
  • 15.9% of the population has had at least one dose.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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