- COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in New York City. The health department is reporting about 1,700 new infections each day — the fewest we’ve seen since this past April.
- COVID transmission is “low” or “medium” throughout the tri-state area, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In counties with the latter designation, the agency recommends that people mask up if they’re high-risk or live with someone who is.
- After a bit of prodding, the city has released COVID vaccination data for the youngest eligible New Yorkers. Just 7% of kids under the age of 5 have started getting their shots.
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These charts portray New York City’s primary COVID statistics over the last 90 days. Confirmed infections spiked in the first half of July but have since declined again. Hospitalizations are also coming down from a midsummer peak.
This map shows where coronavirus has recently flourished, as judged by the case rate. Transmission is highest in parts of Staten Island and Queens.
This map shows COVID-19 hospitalizations over the last 28 days. Hospitalization rates tend to be higher in parts of the city where fewer people are vaccinated.
Most of New York City’s data is released on a three-day lag. Data for the most recent days is typically provisional. The department revises the data for older dates as new tallies arrive, so numbers for each date may change slightly over time.
New York City’s vaccine campaign started with early hiccups, caused mostly by inclement weather and limited federal supplies of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Progress was also hampered by the digital divide and unequal access to the online appointment system for older New Yorkers, whom officials prioritized for the shots. The rollout concentrated in wealthier, less diverse ZIP codes during its early days. Vaccination rates still vary widely among neighborhoods—from 54% in Borough Park to 100% in Midtown Manhattan.
COVID booster shots are currently available to all fully vaccinated adults in New York City, provided that it’s been two months since their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or six months since their second Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shot.
The Novavax vaccine is now also authorized and recommended for all adults, as of late July. Recipients need two doses — taken three to eight weeks apart — to be fully vaccinated, but the shot cannot currently be used as a booster. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, the Novavax shot is made from protein rather than mRNA.
School-age children and teens can also get a Pfizer-BioNTech booster if enough time has passed since their last dose.
Adults older than 50 and immunocompromised people over 12 are now eligible for a second booster shot. The federal government is also considering expanding second-booster eligibility to all adults. As of August 23rd, the city has administered about 3.9 million additional doses of COVID vaccine.
In late August, the FDA authorized a pair of new updated boosters tailored to protect against the highly contagious omicron variant. They’re available to teens and adults who got their last shot at least two months ago.
While city, state and federal officials have provided millions of people with the COVID-19 vaccines, large gaps remain for some key demographics.
About 88% of New Yorkers over the age of 55 are fully vaccinated. But the oldest New Yorkers are still behind: just 64% of those over age 85 are fully inoculated. Black and white New Yorkers also remain undervaccinated.
According to the latest city data, half of school-age children and 82% of teens are fully vaccinated. Younger children became eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines in mid-June, but just 7% have gotten at least one shot.
New York City experienced a high amount of natural exposure during its first and second waves of the coronavirus. This natural immunity combined with defenses provided by the vaccine rollout to drive down cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Natural and vaccine-based immunity is expected to last for months, if not years.
New variants are more likely to evade the natural immunity seen among past recoveries, while vaccine-based shields are more likely to stay intact. Data released by the city health department shows that fully vaccinated New Yorkers have drastically lower case, hospitalization and death rates than unvaccinated residents.
Viruses mutate, much like any microorganism or creature with a genome. Coronavirus variants will pose a perpetual threat to unvaccinated people until infection rates are driven to zero.
The delta variant dominated in the second half of 2021 but has since been outpaced by the B.1.1.529 variant, called “omicron” by the World Health Organization. Scientists are also tracking other omicron substrains, including BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered more contagious than the original omicron. According to the city health department, omicron substrain BA.5 is responsible for 84% of new cases sequenced. CDC data shows that the subvariant is dominating nationwide.
Research suggests that the COVID-19 vaccines may not be as effective against infections caused by the delta and omicron variants, but the drugs can still protect against severe disease, especially after boosters. Hospitalizations and deaths are low for people who take a full course of vaccines.
NYC Pandemic Over Time
These charts show how cases and hospitalizations evolved throughout every borough and citywide.
COVID-19 Pandemic In New York, New Jersey And Connecticut
Parts of New York outside of the five boroughs were hit harder by the state’s second wave relative to its first, a pattern that applied to New Jersey and Connecticut, too. Cases and deaths in all three states decreased dramatically as vaccines became widely available but surged again during the omicron wave.
In late February, the CDC updated its COVID-19 guidance to recommend universal masking only when hospitalizations and cases are very high and hospital capacity is limited. Right now, that designation doesn’t apply anywhere in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. In early July, amid rising cases, New York City’s health department took its own COVID alert level system off its website, saying it was “re-evaluating” the rubric. And in September, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the state was lifting its mask mandate for public transit.