COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the nation as 47 states are seeing infection numbers climb, including New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reported this week that the seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases in the city is at 1.66%, a number he says he wants to get down to avoid reaching the 5% threshold. The percentage of people testing positive citywide for COVID-19 on Tuesday was almost 2.5%.
While the city is not where it was earlier this year with mass numbers of hospitalizations, de Blasio said officials are trying to prevent a second wave.
“We really learned a lot the hard way dealing with an unprecedented crisis in March,” he said. “So we know now how we can expand capacity if we need to within our hospital buildings, but so far, you know, and let’s be very vigilant, as I say this, will all need to be vigilant about this, but so far we’re seeing very little impact in terms of additional hospitalizations.”
Brooklyn and Queens remain the focus of efforts to keep those infection rates down in areas labeled as “red zones.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the final say on lifting restrictions in red zones. Cuomo said testing is an important part of stopping the spread and certain ZIP codes are seeing more progress than others.
“We’ve seen a huge uptick in the last few days,” de Blasio said. “We saw it originally in Williamsburg, and I want to thank all the leaders there. But then, we’ve seen it spread really consistently to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. So, much higher levels of testing are playing a profound role here in helping us figure out the best way to address this crisis and overcome it.”
City Hall public health Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Verma notes that while COVID-19 cases are up, hospitalizations are not. He said the city learned how to handle COVID-19 from the larger outbreak that happened at the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year.
“In terms of hospital capacity, we have also been working very actively to make sure that all of the lessons learned from the first devastating wave of this epidemic are applied now,” Verma said. “We’ve learned a lot about how to manage bed capacity, about how to manage staffing, and very importantly, how to actually treat this disease more effectively.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo says that the micro cluster strategy is working in the city and other hotspots throughout the state. Earlier this month, the infection rate in a red zone in Brooklyn was 5.8%. This week’s positive rate in the same area is down to 2.8%
“The strategy relies on government being quick, competent and effective, and this is how we are going to control spread through the vaccination period,” Cuomo said. “New York had the highest infection rate in the country, if not on the globe, but New Yorkers came together like no other community and were able to control the virus and flatten the curve.”
With the holiday travel season coming up in November and December with Thanksgiving and Christmas, de Blasio is urging New Yorkers not to travel to see family. He’s also urging visitors from states with high infection rates to not come to the city.
There are 40 states and territories on New York’s quarantine list with pretty much the middle of the United States off limits and only states in the Northeast and West Coast permitted for traveling. Anyone traveling to a state on the advisory list is required to quarantine for two weeks or face stiff penalties.
“This year, when we, ironically and painfully, we want to see family the most, we want to see loved ones and friends the most, we’re feeling that lack of connection, but this is the year where we have to do things differently because we do see the level of infection rising all over the country, all over the world,” de Blasio said.
As several drug companies say that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, a recent survey reveals the reason why Black Americans would take it.
In the survey, conducted by BlackDoctor.org (BDO), almost half reported they would take the vaccine to protect themselves. The No. 1 reason Blacks say they would take the vaccine is because they work at a job where they are in contact with crowds. Other reasons include, being an essential or healthcare worker or living in a household where there’s no social distancing.
Last month, a BDO survey revealed that 91% of respondents reported they would not take a COVID vaccine within the first year due to distrust of a potential vaccine.