Highly Contagious BA.2 Covid Variant Drives Highest Transmission Rate in New York
The so-called “stealth” omicron variant BA.2, which is fueling a fresh COVID case uptick locally, nationally and abroad, now accounts for more than 92% of virus circulating in the New York region, a significantly higher prevalence than its national share and another marked increase in the last week, according to new CDC data.
It is also driving the vast majority of new infections in New York City, data shows. And Manhattan’s transmission rate per 100,000 residents is the highest of all boroughs.
For the CDC’s New York area, which for the agency’s purposes includes New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands along with the Empire State, that 92% number is up from 84% last week and 52% two weeks before that.
In New York City, health department data puts BA.2 at 85% of positive COVID samples tested, but that data is a week behind that provided by the CDC. Officials say the omicron subvariant now accounts for most cases in the five boroughs.
The increase could reflect waning vaccine efficacy among some who have yet to be boosted or another cause. Most importantly, the age-adjusted vaccine effectiveness rate in terms of new hospitalizations hasn’t shifted in a statistically significant way.
The five boroughs’ daily case average, meanwhile, is up 38% over the rolling average for the prior four weeks, but reflects only an increase of 521 total cases in terms of raw numbers. COVID hospitalizations and deaths remain on the decline.
Manhattan has seen the highest transmission jumps in recent weeks, with the borough reporting a rolling case average per 100,000 residents that is 87% higher than the citywide average and the highest of any of the five boroughs.
Manhattan accounts for all but one of the top 10 ZIP codes in terms of rolling percent positivity, according to the latest health department, though Long Island City in Queens leads the pack.
Again, the raw data tells a more complete picture. In the Long Island City ZIP code with the city’s highest rolling positivity rate right now, it’s a 27-case increase. In TriBeca, No. 2 on that metric, it’s a 29-case difference — and just 12 for the Financial District’s 10004.
Given the upticks, the feds plan to extend the nationwide travel mask mandate another two weeks at least, sources with knowledge of the decision said on Wednesday.
Though infections are rising, most counties still have low levels of transmission and hospitalizations, which means people who live in those areas don’t need to wear masks indoors under CDC public health guidance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week COVID will continue to circulate in communities for the foreseeable future, and people will have to make their own decisions about the risk they’re willing to take based on their age and health status.
Source: NBC News, NY Click here for the full story https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/highly-contagious-variant-drives-92-of-ny-area-cases-manhattan-transmission-rate-nearly-2x-city-average/3641731/