The Perfect Enemy | NY COVID cases plummet 36.5% as omicron wave recedes
February 21, 2024

New York’s statewide COVID-19 case count fell by 36.5% last week, signaling that a spring wave caused by several omicron subvariants is subsiding. 

The state added 45,469 new cases in the week ending Sunday, down from the previous week’s tally of 71,647 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New York ranked 22nd 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.

The trends in New York cases in recent weeks suggested that a COVID-19 wave, which began in early April and was fueled by highly contagious omicron subvariants, was receding in upstate counties and moving downstate, causing upticks there. 

Now, cases are falling statewide, with both urban and rural regions showing double-digit declines. 

32 of New York's 62 counties are in a high-risk COVID-19 category as of Thursday, May 26, due to local infection rates and strains on hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, 32 out of New York’s 62 counties counties fell into the high-risk COVID-19 category, of as Thursday, due to local infection rates and strains on hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s down from 54 counties deemed high risk a week ago.

State and federal health officials urged people to wear masks indoors in public spaces in all counties within the high-risk category, regardless of vaccination status, to help curb the virus’ spread.

“It is important that we don’t let our guard down and continue to use the tools we have available to us to stay safe and healthy,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Friday. “The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious illness is to get vaccinated and keep up to date with your booster doses.”

Regulators have taken several steps in recent weeks to strengthen vaccination and booster rates nationally, including recommending a booster earlier this month for ages 5-11, at least five months after their initial vaccination series.

Meanwhile, Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be safe and effective for children ages 6 months to 5 years, according to a company study released last week. The report suggested regulators could soon approve the vaccine for the youngest age group after months of delays.

In the latest week, coronavirus cases in the United States decreased 11.3% from the week before, with 702,236 cases reported. With 5.84% of the country’s population, New York had 6.47% of the country’s cases in the last week.

Across the country, 32 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

More on COVID-19 in NY:New York COVID cases up 5%. NYC, Long Island face worst outbreaks as upstate wave recedes

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How COVID is spreading in New York

Pedestrians walk past a signs hanging outside Pfizer headquarters in New York and one hanging at a bus stop encouraging the Covid-19 booster, Monday, May 23.
  • In the latest week, Westchester County’s cases fell 43%, reporting 2,280 cases and four deaths. 
  • Rockland County’s cases declined 47%, reporting 580 cases and zero deaths.
  • Putnam County’s cases decreased by 50%, reporting 206 cases and zero deaths. 
  • Dutchess County’s cases fell 52%, reporting 537 cases and two deaths. 
  • Upstate, Monroe County’s cases plummeted by 60%, reporting 867 cases and four deaths. 
  • Broome County’s cases fell by 64%, reporting 281 cases and four deaths. 
  • Oneida County’s declined 54%, reporting 275 cases and two deaths. 

Across New York, cases fell in 58 counties, with the best declines in: 

  • Queens County, with 5,616 cases from 9,241 a week earlier 
  • Nassau County, with 3,786 cases from 7,073
  • New York County, with 4,408 cases from 7,456

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

New York ranked 7th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with 90.2% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 77.7%, 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 Wednesday, New York reported administering another 172,494 vaccine doses, including 22,063 first doses. In the previous week, the state administered 215,423 vaccine doses, including 26,428 first doses. In all, New York reported it has administered 39,323,243 total doses.

Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in:

  • Richmond County with 489 cases per 100,000 per week 
  • Kings County with 355 
  • Bronx County with 284

The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.

Weekly case counts rose in three counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week’s pace were in Bronx, Kings and Richmond counties.

In New York, 150 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 168 people were reported dead.

A total of 5,414,434 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 68,955 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 83,984,644 people have tested positive and 1,004,733 people have died.

>> Track coronavirus cases across the United States

New York’s COVID-19 hospital admissions staying flat

A 62-year-old nursing home resident receives a COVID-19 booster shot in New York on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021.

USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, May 29.

Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:

  • Last week: 4,162
  • The week before that: 4,114
  • Four weeks ago: 3,573

Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:

  • Last week: 55,952
  • The week before that: 52,036
  • Four weeks ago: 41,964

Hospitals in 34 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 33 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 35 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 mstucka@gannett.com.