Omicron: New York COVID cases surged 64% last week. Hospitalizations up 82% in last month.
New coronavirus cases leaped 64% in New York in the week ending Sunday, as 367,687 cases were reported and authorities warned the omicron variant was threatening already overburdened hospitals.
The previous week in New York had 223,956 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.
New York ranked second among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
While the surging COVID-19 infections shattered prior record highs, authorities raised concerns that the number of people hospitalized with the respiratory disease has been steadily climbing during the last month.
New York's weekly tally of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals reached nearly 9,900 last week, up about 82% from a month ago, federal data show.
"Hospitalizations continue to rise; that is a trend that is troubling," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday, noting the rise in COVID cases and patients in hospitals is a global trend fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant.
New York's rise in hospitalizations is unfolding as studies show the omicron variant causes less severe illnesses than the delta variant, suggesting the current strain on hospitals is, in part, connected to the delta surge during the fall of 2021. There is typically a lag of several weeks between when people are infected and they arrive at hospitals.
"People are testing positive at a much higher rate, but the severity of the illness is far less than we’ve seen before," Hochul said at Monday's media briefing in Rochester.
It also remains unclear how many New Yorkers were hospitalized directly due to COVID-19 symptoms, as opposed to someone hospitalized for a separate health condition who then tested positive for COVID, Hochul said, adding state health officials would soon begin tracking and reporting data related to that issue.
To address the ongoing post-holiday COVID surge, Hochul has extended the statewide mask mandate to Feb. 1, while racing to expand COVID-19 testing and vaccine access as children returned to schools this week following the holiday break.
Federal disaster and medical response teams have also been deployed to hospitals in Syracuse and Buffalo, as Hochul's administration last week expanded the number of National Guard troops sent to aid short-staffed health care facilities statewide since the effort began last month.
Nationally, new coronavirus cases increased 104% from the week before, with 2,833,203 cases reported. With 5.84% of the country's population, New York had 12.98% of the country's cases in the last week.
Meanwhile, Christmas and New Year's significantly disrupted who got tested, how many people got tested, what labs operated and what government agencies reported on time in many states.
Some of the Christmas weekend reports were shifted into the latest week. Most states outside New York reported no cases at all the weekend of New Year's, which will bump those reports into the following week. Consequently, week-to-week comparisons will be skewed for many states.
In New York, 702 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 380 people were reported dead.
How COVID is spreading in New York
- In the latest week, Westchester County faced an 11% increase in new COVID cases, reporting 13,357 cases and 31 deaths.
- Rockland County's cases jumped nearly 45%, reporting 5,065 cases and nine deaths.
- Putnam County's cases spiked 72%, reporting 1,647 cases and one death.
- Orange County's cases were up 60%, reporting 5,512 cases and zero deaths.
- Dutchess County's cases increased 35%, reporting 2,628 cases and nine deaths.
- Upstate, Monroe County's cases jumped 42%, reporting 4,239 cases and 32 deaths.
- Oneida County's cases increased nearly 26%, reporting 1,448 cases and 14 deaths.
- Broome County's cases increased nearly 7%, reporting 1,156 cases and eight deaths.
Across New York, cases fell in 11 counties, with the best declines in:
- New York County, with 38,255 cases from 40,700 a week earlier
- Tompkins County, with 548 cases from 676;
- Clinton County, with 381 cases from 410.
Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in:
- Bronx County with 3,736 cases per 100,000 per week
- Richmond County with 3,556;
- Queens County with 3,094.
The Centers for Disease Control high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.
Adding the most new cases overall were:
- Kings County, with 77,177 cases.
- Queens County, with 69,744 cases.
- Bronx County, with 52,988.
New York ranked 8th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with 84% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 73.3%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the most used in the United States, require two doses administered a few weeks apart.
In the week ending Thursday, New York reported administering another 678,441 vaccine doses, including 217,752 first doses. In the previous week, the state administered 902,641 vaccine doses, including 261,353 first doses.
In all, New York reported it has administered 34,256,514 total doses.
A total of 3,552,059 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 59,682 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 55,114,057 people have tested positive and 826,060 people have died.
New York's COVID-19 hospital admissions rising
USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, Jan. 2.
Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:
- Last week: 9,891
- The week before that: 6,278
- Four weeks ago: 4,106
Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:
- Last week: 146,041
- The week before that: 99,270
- Four weeks ago: 86,518
Hospitals in 42 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 32 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 48 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.
The USA TODAY Network is publishing localized versions of this story on its news sites across the country, generated with data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control. If you have questions about the data or the story, contact Mike Stucka at firstname.lastname@example.org.