More than One Million New Yorkers Have Had COVID

More than One Million New Yorkers Have Had COVID

By Yehudit Garmaise

       More than one million New Yorkers are reported to have had COVID, and 33,645 of those patients have died from the virus, since the first New Yorker was reported to be infected with the virus on March 1, 2020, according to the data from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH). 

     New York City health officials said that of the 1,000,469 confirmed COVID cases citywide, 117,496 of those patients, or 12%, have been hospitalized: a number that the city’s top physicians say can only be driven down by vaccination.

     Despite the presence of more than 1,000 vaccination centers citywide and many incentives, such as free Metro passes and free tickets to sports and entertainment venues, one-third of adult New York City residents remain not fully vaccinated.

     “The vaccine induces a broader set of immune responses that we think will work much better [than natural antibodies from previous infection] at protecting people against Delta variant and all the variants that may come,” said Mitch Katz, MD, the CEO of Health + Hospitals.

      Dr. Katz added that while prior infection does create a level of immunity that is “protective,” the antibodies only protect against the strain of the virus that caused the original infection.

     Therefore, in light of delta and other potential variants, vaccination is the best course of action for all New Yorkers, whether or not they have had COVID or not, which is important considering the city reported 1,817 COVID cases just last week, with the vast majority of those cases unvaccinated New Yorkers.

     While the first eight months of New York City’s vaccine rollout took a voluntary approach, in light of the delta variant and urgings of health experts that the virus will only continue to mutate, unless it is stopped by mass vaccination, Mayor Bill de Blasio has stepped up his efforts to include not only $100 cash incentives, but mandates of city workers, healthcare workers to get their shots or submit to weekly COVID testing. 

      The mayor’s approach seems to be working, as vaccination rates have increased dramatically over the last two weeks. The DOH has reported that between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7, 104,544 New Yorkers, the largest weekly number since May, got their first shots.

     In addition, although a type of vaccine pass will not be fully enforced until Sept. 13,  tomorrow will be the first day in which “the Key to NYC Pass” will be checked at businesses that provide indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment.

     The NYPD will not be enforcing the passes, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained, but the city will be taking “a civilian approach” that involves Small Business Services, and the city’s Health Department.

(PHOTO BY: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

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