What to know
- New York State broke its one-day COVID case record on Wednesday, reporting a total of 67,000 new positives, a 64% increase over the last day. Nearly 20% of the 362,000 some tests across the country were positive
- Virus admissions are at the level of mid-February and rising, with NY reporting 6,700 patients from Wednesday, a 10% increase in the last 24 hours, and near-triple-digit daily deaths for the first time in months
- While this intense omicron wave is expected to be shorter than the delta wave, Gov. Kathy Hochul says she expects a peak for all nuclear COVID polls next month, saying the state is ready to deal with it.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul warned that lower-reported COVID-19 infections across the state earlier in the week were likely to be the result of reduced holiday weekend tests, warning that an increase could occur in the middle of the week as more results came ind. They’re up and running.
The state reported a new one-day high of 67,090 cases on Wednesday, a 64.5% increase in just the last day, Hochul said. The unprecedented total came in the midst of a recent high number of daily tests – 362,594 – to a positivity of 18.5%.
The governor described these high test numbers as a “very positive result”, showing that the state is able to deploy sufficient resources to meet the demand for tests that have risen in the midst of this wave of omicron variant infections.
At the same time, Hochul reported 97 new COVID deaths in New York, the first time in many months that daily deaths have approached 100. It tops the most recently reported high with at least 20 lives and is “not the direction we want to go,” Hochul said.
Hospital admissions are also escalating exponentially, rounding out at about 6,767 in total across the country as of Wednesday, Hochul said. That’s a 10% increase over Tuesday’s admissions and dangerously close to the 2021 peaks around 8,700 from January. More than 960 patients are in intensive care units, with a further 17 added to Wednesday’s count.
So far, most hospitals are able to cope with the increases, given the tendency of omicrons to cause milder infections among the fully vaccinated. About two dozen hospitals across the state have suspended elective surgeries to maintain at least 10% bed capacity, but that number has dropped from 32 in recent weeks and is stable.
“We are basically preparing for an increase in January. We know it is coming. And we are naive to believe it will not,” Hochul said on Wednesday, shaking his head at the seemingly simple inevitability. “We believe there will be an increase in cases that will continue, not only in our positive rates, but in our hospital admissions.”
The data is almost hard to fathom – nearly 20% of all COVID tests in the state came back positive on Wednesday, and over the past seven days, about 1.5% of all New York residents tested positive.
As Hochul said about omicron a day ago, “This is a different variant” in terms of its unprecedented infectivity and vaccine resistance.
Breakthrough infections have been particularly problematic with this strain, crippling everything from Broadway companies to transit operations, airlines and more, as industries vie to adopt new CDC isolation guidelines that take into account both the increased transmissibility of omicrons and milder cases for the vaccinated.
From the state of New York’s most recent report, vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 infection was 75%, meaning that fully vaccinated New Yorkers had about a 75% lower chance of becoming infected than unvaccinated New Yorkers. In May, the rate was 92%. It dropped to 80% during the delta variant rise and again in the middle of the omicron.
Vaccine efficacy against COVID hospitalization fell to a much lesser extent below omicron (94.6% efficacy rate, government data show). This is a higher rate than New York saw in mid-July in the middle of the delta peak (93.7%) and on a par with efficiency rates in early May against COVID hospitalization for the fully vaccinated.
The state does not differentiate fully vaccinated New Yorkers from fully vaccinated New Yorkers who have been given boosters in this dataset, so the data may be a little skewed.
Meanwhile, rates of positivity and transmission are rising, especially in New York City, which accounts for a significant proportion of all new COVID cases at national level.
Omicron has also nurtured unprecedented daily infections throughout the United States. America set a record seven-day case average on Tuesday, according to NBC News data.
The average of 262,034 daily cases obscured the previous record set on January 11 of 252,776 new cases per day. It dropped slightly, according to the CDC, to about 240,400 cases a day on Wednesday, still a 60% increase over the previous week.
“The rapid increase in cases we see across the country is very much a reflection of the unusually transferable omicron variant,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a briefing at the White House on Wednesday. “In a few short weeks, omicron has risen rapidly across the country and we expect it to continue to circulate in the coming weeks. While our cases have increased significantly compared to last week, hospital admissions and deaths remain relatively low. . “
The severity of the omicron is taking its toll, generating record-breaking cases as coast-to-coast cities struggle to try to slow the spread. NBC News’ Liz McLaughlin has the latest from the head of the CDC on the incubation period and more.
The variant, whose first local case was reported on December 2, accounted for 74.2% of the genetically sequenced positive New York COVID samples uploaded to GISAID, the world’s largest repository of COVID-19 sequences, over the last two years. weeks. That is an increase from 73.3% a day ago, 11.1% in the two-week period ending December 18, and from 2.2% in the two-week period before that, state data shows.
CDC data for the past two weeks say omicron could account for anywhere from 70% to 97% of current infections in the New York area in the week ending December 25th. At national level, the prevalence is estimated to be as high as 74%, ie. says the agency.
Ultimately, officials say vaccinations will dampen the increases in hospitalizations and deaths associated with the omicron wave – and these measurements are a much bigger concern for them than infections alone. That’s why they are calling for calm at this time – and pushing vaccinations and COVID boosters for those who need them.
“New Year’s Eve is approaching. I hope we can have a healthier next year, but we will be smart. New Yorkers, if we are anything, then we are tough, we are tenacious, but we are also smart,” Hochul said Wednesday. “We will do the right thing by continuing to share the message of getting vaccinated, getting kids vaccinated, getting booster shots, wearing the mask, and I know I sound like a broken record, but I keep “Repeat it because we need to remind people that this is the way out of this. We are not as vulnerable as we were this time last year.”
Yet the governor acknowledges the devastating number of the past two years as she thanked health workers in the North Country region for their tireless commitment.
“There’s an exhaustion on the way, they had never dreamed they would go through not one but two winters of this without end in sight because this variant is so wildly unpredictable,” the Democrat said. “Everyone in this entire health care system owes a huge amount of gratitude.”