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Over the Peak? NY Hopeful as COVID Spread Rates Ease Even as Most Severe Cases Climb



What to Know

  • Breakthrough COVID infection rates per 100K NYers surged by more than 7x last month, while breakthrough hospitalization risk grew by 4x; the total numbers are minimal compared with risk to unvaccinated
  • Now, though, core viral rates are seeing slower rates of growth, even though they remain high; caseloads are declining even as the lagging indicators, hospitalizations and deaths, continue to rise
  • Total hospitalizations are at 12,540, the highest tally since April 27, 2020, while the 160 new deaths are the highest single-day toll since the mass vaccination rollout. But the increase pace is slowing

New York core viral rates continue to show incremental signs of improvement, a hopeful Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday, a day after the U.S. recorded yet another new single-day case record amid the ferocious omicron surge.

Percent positivity has declined over the last few days, with fewer than one in five Empire State COVID tests coming back positive for the first time in a month. The state’s seven-day case average per 100,000 residents is also stabilizing.

“Yes, it is actually going downward,” a seemingly relieved Democratic governor said from her office in Manhattan. “Looks like we might be cresting over that peak. We are not at the end, but I want to say that to me this is a glimmer of hope.”

NY Department of Health

Positivity and case trend lines are slowing or stabilizing in NY

COVID hospitalizations soared statewide to 12,540, the highest total since April 27, 2020, and Tuesday’s new death toll of 160 is the highest single-day toll since the mass vaccination rollout began, but the rate of increase is slowing measurably.


Omicron’s siege of New York could be hitting its crest. Andrew Siff reports on the latest.

Meanwhile, a surprising number of people hospitalized with COVID weren’t admitted for that in the first place, state data shows. The diagnosis just came along the way as part of routine admissions testing. Is that good or bad news?

It could depend on who you ask. The state says it’s an indication of omicron’s milder symptoms, which may turn harsher for people with one or more underlying conditions. That’s the group getting most sick amid this latest wave, anecdotal evidence from at least one noted Manhattan emergency room doctor says.

The data also suggests many more cases like those hospitalized patients who weren’t admitted for the virus may go undetected, meaning the true breadth of omicron’s spread may never be known.

It comes as newly released state breakthrough data highlights in stark reality the viral force that crippled workforces for every key industry last month and continues to assert its power over the globe, reasons Pfizer and Moderna are scrambling to make an omicron-specific vaccine that experts say is already too late.

To be sure, viral rates are still increasing across all key indicators, but the rate of growth appears to be slowing — drastically so, at times — over the last week. Time will tell as to whether it’s a promising trend or merely a blip in this latest wave.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told News 4 Friday he thought omicron’s peak could be a matter of weeks away — and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters it was possible (though far from certain) cases could drop as quickly as they rose.


Nationally, omicron’s prevalence is believed to be as high as 97%, though the CDC has yet to update its data for the past week.

Source: NBC New York

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