What there is to know
- The delta variant was found in 83% of the positive NYC samples studied, up from 72% in the last Health Department report and 57% the week before.
- This strain is now the dominant one in New Jersey as well
- Existing vaccines have proven to be effective protection against the variant, although the government and vaccine makers now say booster shots will be needed soon.
The highly transmissible delta variant continues to burn across New York City, now accounting for 83% of all positive samples – and every key indicator in the city is moving in the wrong direction.
The situation is deteriorating so rapidly, in fact, that as of Friday, the city’s five boroughs are now following CDC guidelines to be considered “high transmission” areas where extra precautions must be taken, including interior masking. universal.
New confirmed and probable cases rose 25% in the city from the previous week and 70% from two weeks earlier. The seven-day moving averages for overall positive tests, positive tests as a percentage of all tests, hospitalizations, and deaths are all above the 28-day averages, suggesting a steepening curve.
Granted, there are slight signs of optimism – the daily number of new cases has finally dropped a bit this week after weeks of relentless increases. Vaccinations are also on the rise, spurred by the city’s offer of $ 100 for every first dose, along with new measures increasingly shutting down daily life to the unvaccinated.
But the fight against the Delta variant is not about to end, it has only just begun, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders have made clear.
An unpublished CDC presentation, obtained by NBC News, highlights the growing gravity of the situation – about 35,000 symptomatic infections per week nationwide among those who are already fully vaccinated.
(Even so, unvaccinated people are still eight times more likely to be infected and 25 times more likely to be hospitalized or die, the CDC said.)
New York will require all state employees to get their coronavirus vaccine before Labor Day or undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the policy on Wednesday during a Zoom appeal. NBC New York’s Adam Harding reports.
On Friday, the delta variant that first devastated India before spreading globally – and is thought to be far more contagious than this widely followed first alpha variant – accounts for 83% of the city’s samples. tested in the past four weeks, according to the latest weekly data from the city’s health department.
It only took 14 days for delta to go from the fourth most common COVID strain in the city to the first, first surpassing the so-called New York strain that initially emerged in Washington Heights before spreading elsewhere, as well as other fast-spreading variants that first emerged in the UK and Brazil. These last two “worrying variants” now represent less than 10% of new cases in the city.
As the delta spreads, exacerbating what the CDC has called an “unvaccinated pandemic,” nearly all of the key measures are getting worse in New York City – still absolutely away from the city’s darkest days, but on the rise nonetheless.
In the past two weeks, the percentage of people testing positive for the virus has almost doubled and now stands at nearly 3.3%.
Pandemic of the unvaccinated
Delta, the variant that was first found in India and is now found in at least 104 countries, has dramatically increased its prevalence in the United States over the past month, now accounting for well over 80% of samples tested. , according to the CDC.
Scientific evidence has shown that the delta spreads much more easily than previous strains of the virus and has more serious consequences for those infected, prompting further pressure from all levels of government to get people vaccinated. they weren’t.
Officials now believe the delta variant may be more contagious than a cold and just as contagious as chickenpox – well known to generations of parents as one of the most catchable viruses in life.
Vaccinated people infected with delta can have the same viral load as an unvaccinated infected person and be just as contagious, according to the CDC.
The World Health Organization, which has called it the “fastest and fittest” variant yet, expects it to become the dominant strain globally.
Given the relatively tiny subset of positive samples sequenced to assess potential variations in the strain, the CDC and local experts estimate that the prevalence of delta, which is classified as a variant of concern, is much higher than that reported. .
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is found in New York City – and Staten Island experiences a higher workload than any other part of the city. Chris Glorioso speaks with health officials on the issue.
The variant is blamed for an increase in the number of cases across the United States which has seen the number of new confirmed cases daily increase six-fold since July 1 – now more than 120,000 people a day test positive nationwide , to return to the levels last observed at the beginning of March. Although daily hospitalizations and deaths remain relatively low, these are lagging indicators and may increase as the delta spreads into unvaccinated areas.
The latest CDC data shows they are already on the rise.
“There is a crystal clear message: this is becoming an unvaccinated pandemic,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said recently. “We are seeing outbreaks in parts of the country that have low immunization coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. “
The White House said the Biden administration believed cases would continue to rise in the coming weeks due to the viral spread within communities with low vaccination rates.
As the ‘hypertransmissible’ Delta variant increases in communities across the United States, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky has issued a stern warning to those who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus, stating: “Our greater concern is that we are going to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated.
Existing vaccines are expected to protect people against delta and other variants of concern that have emerged, but with less than 60% complete vaccines, the increased transmissibility of delta and the associated risk have rekindled concerns.
The situation is so urgent that New York City will now pay unvaccinated people $ 100 to get their first dose at a city-run site. Beginning in mid-September, vaccines will be required for dining indoors, training in a gym, or attending any kind of indoor entertainment.
The city has also expanded its referral bonus program for local nonprofits and focused on getting doctors in private practice to encourage their patients who have not yet been vaccinated, for whatever reason. , to be dosed now.
Now is an opportunity to support the city’s progress against COVID-19, de Blasio says, and to leverage the effectiveness of existing vaccines to limit the spread of the delta.
Statewide, new daily COVID counts are closer to 3,000 in recent days than the roughly 300 to 400 reported by the state in early July. Daily deaths, for now, have recalled low.
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