New York City Mayor Eric Adams, seen here at a public event on April 7, announced on Sunday that he … [+]
With the more transmissible BA.2 Omicron subvariant spreading, the lack of a truly proactive surveillance system, and many people being more lax about Covid-19 precautions, things can change in a New York minute. And now, surprise, surprise, New York City (NYC) is experiencing an uptick in Covid-19 cases. Over the past two weeks, the average number of new reported Covid-19 cases per day has gone up by 49% to 1,688, according to data from The New York Times. In fact, over that same time period, this number for all of New York state has increased by 61% to 4,238 with Covid-19-related hospitalizations edging up by 2%.
Also, on Sunday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams tweeted that he’s tested positive for Covid-19:
As you can see, Adams indicated that he’s been fully vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19. So far, 77.8% of NYC residents have been fully vaccinated. However, only 36.9% have been boosted, according to the NYC Health website. Getting fully vaccinated but not boosted can be like wearing underwear with much more than three holes. It can leave you a bit exposed. Without the booster, being fully vaccinated can still offer you some protection against the Omicron variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but that protection could be less than 50%.
As Lisa Rozner reported for CBS New York, Adams is now isolating himself and has canceled all of his upcoming public events:
Speaking of positive tests, another indicator that has recently reversed direction is the percentage Covid-19 tests that have come back positive. While this percentage has been 2.99% for NYC over the past 28 days, it’s crept up to 3.30% in the past week, based on data from New York City (NYC) Health. Naturally, unless your name rhymes with “big stinking iris” and you have spikes all over you, you want this percentage to be as low as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers Covid-19 transmission to be low when the percentage of positive Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAAT) tests is less than 5%. So, in general, 3.30% still isn’t that high.
Take these numbers with an Ugg boot full of salt, though, because all of these numbers may not accurately reflect what’s going on in NYC coronavirus-wise. It’s not clear what percentage of all people who should be getting tested are actually doing so. Some may not care to find out that they are infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus. Others may not have adequate access to testing. Moreover, with many people possibly testing themselves at home, how many people have been telling others besides Siri, Alexa, and perhaps their cats whenever they test positive?
Plus, the number of new reported Covid-19 cases will not give you a sense of how much SARS-CoV-2 transmission is occurring right now, only what transmission may have happened a week to several weeks ago. That’s because it can take days, potentially up to two weeks, for a person to get tested after getting infected, assuming that he or she even does end up getting tested. Therefore, using Covid-19 case counts to determine whether you should wear a face mask can be like relying on weather reports from two weeks ago to decide whether to bring an umbrella outside.
So far, Covid-19-related deaths have yet to follow suit and have been continuing their downward trend since February, decreasing by 14% in New York state over the same time period. However, hospitalizations and deaths will always lag new reported Covid-19 cases unless, of course, you have a time machine made out of a DeLorean. In order to see the impact of the Covid-19 transmission that has occurred in recent weeks, you may have to, wait for it, wait for it, wait for a few more weeks.
From March 20 through March 26, around 85% of positive test samples that had undergone genomic … [+]
Tracking just Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in this manner makes for a rather reactive “oh-you-should-have-done-this” surveillance system. A more proactive surveillance system could entail randomly testing people, including seemingly healthy ones, in all areas of the city and among all walks of life and reporting such cases. Otherwise, it’s quite difficult to anticipate when another Covid-19 surge may occur. Covid-19 precautions such as face mask wearing and social distancing could potentially prevent another surge but only if they are maintained prior to the surge. Implementing such precautions after you’re already in the midst of a surge would be like suddenly realizing that you should be wearing clothes in the middle of a job interview or a date. The horse and other things may have already left the barn, so to speak.
Although the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has kept its Covid-19 alert level at “low,” maintaining Covid-19 precautions would be especially important with the BA.2 nasty spreading. This Omicron subvariant has become the alpha dog of the SARS-CoV-2, so to speak. From March 20 through March 26, around 85% of positive test samples that had undergone genomic sequencing have contained the BA.2 subvariant. This was expected because the BA.2 subvariant is even more transmissible than the BA.1 subvariant which was more transmissible than previous versions of the SARS-CoV-2, as I have described previously for Forbes.
Will this latest uptick in New York lead to yet another Covid-19 surge? Or will the uptick only be momentary, a little longer than a New York minute but not too much longer? The U.K. and other countries in Europe have already been experiencing Covid-19 surges, although not nearly as bad as they did at the end of 2021. And throughout the pandemic, what’s happened in Europe has been almost like a cinematic trailer for what will soon happen in the U.S.
Nevertheless, there are some factors in our favor, assuming that you are human and aren’t shaped like the end of one of those BDSM maces (not that you should know anything about such maces.) Unlike the situation in November, the weather has gotten somewhat warmer and more humid, which could potentially decrease transmission. Additionally, a greater percentage of population has now been exposed to the spike protein of the virus, either via vaccination or natural infection. While our immune systems were like virgins on first dates back in 2020, firing off in random directions, many of our immune systems are now a lot more experienced and can better handle the virus.
On the flip side, people have become more careless, taking fewer precautions with less face mask wearing and less social distancing. In other words, there’s been a lot of premature relaxation. And as you know (or maybe you insist that you don’t know), anything premature can leave a rather messy situation. Moreover, immunity from previous exposures and vaccination may be waning.
If another surge does occur, chances are it won’t be as severe as either the latest Winter surge or the Delta variant-fueled surge from last Summer. Regardless, New York and the rest of the U.S. would be better off in more of a “Covid-19 precaution state of mind” than it is now.
Source by www.forbes.com