Speed Reads

Another COVID Christmas

Roughly 1 in 60 Manhattanites reportedly infected with COVID-19 in the past 7 days

If you live in New York City, you're not just imagining that everyone seems to have COVID-19 right now.

Peter Suwondo, a Columbia University medical student and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health policy advisor, took a look at the data shared by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and found that over 1 percent of New Yorkers were infected in the last week alone. "In Manhattan, transmission was even higher: roughly 1 of out every 60 people," he wrote:

Nearly 39,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in New York state on Thursday, up more than 10,000 from Wednesday, The New York Times reports. Some 22,808 of Thursday's new cases came out of New York City. The city's average test positivity rate was at 11 percent as of Tuesday. 

The highly contagious Omicron variant, which is being blamed for the winter surge, "seems to be the variant of the wealthy," Curbed writes, pointing out that hard-hit areas include the affluent Manhattan neighborhoods of Soho and Greenwich Village. But "experts say the reasons why cases are so much higher in Manhattan are varied" — including that being able to wait in line for a test is a luxury — and that "it's likely that the high transmission rates that are being documented there actually exist throughout the rest of the city, too."

On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would hold its traditional New Year's celebration in Times Square, but with a reduced crowd to limit the risk of infection due to the surge. Viewing areas for the event that normally can accommodate about 58,000 people will be limited to crowds totaling about 15,000 this year. Everyone attending will have to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination.