As New York enters its third pandemic summer, the city has been caught in another COVID wave, with an explosively contagious omicron strain pushing test positivity rates to steep heights.
On Wednesday, the weeklong positivity rate across the five boroughs had reached 14% and eclipsed 20% in parts of Staten Island, southern Brooklyn, Queens, upper Manhattan and the eastern Bronx, according to city data.
Death rates remain low, limited by widespread vaccination, but the latest heinous, hyper-mutated subvariant to vex the globe, BA.5, appears to have sent hospital admissions rates upward in other countries.
“It’s abundantly clear that this is another threat to all of us,” said Dr. Jay Varma, who served as a health adviser to former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“The risk is lower in those who are fully up to date on their vaccines, but because the virus keeps finding ways to evade our immune systems, it represents a risk of more people getting infected,” Varma said. “We’re just on this roller coaster.”
New York State reported 15 COVID deaths Tuesday; deaths lag behind hospital admissions and cases.
“A highly transmissible covid variant is on the rise in NYC, but testing is falling,” Mark Levine, Manhattan’s borough president, said Tuesday on Twitter, urging New Yorkers to use swabs.
“These new variants are coming,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference. “We’re watching closely, looking at the numbers, looking at the indicators to make sure we can pivot and shift.”
He urged New Yorkers to wear masks in high-risk settings, get tested and, when infected, use antiviral treatments, which are now available at city testing sites.