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Like the pre-holiday surge last fall, COVID-19 cases are starting to rise again in New York City — but the story is very different this time, thanks to vaccination efforts.
The transmission of COVID-19 is again on the rise, with 82.81 cases per 100,000 inhabitants citywide as of November 14. The 7-day positivity rate had also increased to 1.68% on November 12, compared to the reported rate of 1.46% on November 5.
But the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to fall. As of November 9, the city reported a 7-day average hospitalization rate of just 20; a month earlier, on October 9, that 7-day average was 62.
Deaths from COVID-19 have also fallen, from a 7-day average of 12 deaths on October 9 to just 6 deaths on November 9 – a 50% decrease from the one-month average.
None of this is a coincidence. Nearly three-quarters of all New Yorkers have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the city’s health department reported Nov. 14.
Now that more New Yorkers are being vaccinated, they are better able to fight off the virus or reduce the severity of symptoms if they are infected. The use of monoclonal antibodies, among those infected with COVID-19 and at higher risk for serious disease, has also helped treat patients and prevent serious, life-threatening outcomes.
Still, there are plenty of new COVID-19 hotspots in the Five Boroughs. Seven areas reported a 7-day positivity rate of over 3% between Nov. 3-9, including Belle Harbor/Neponsit/Rockaway Park, Queens (zip code 11694), which led the city at a rate of 4.13%. However, only 21 new cases were reported there.
Two other areas of Queens also had 7-day positivity rates above 3% during the period: Edgemere/Far Rockaway (11691, 3.67%, 69 new cases) and Bayside (11360, 3.42%, 17 new cases) ).
Three Staten Island communities also exceeded 3% positivity between November 3 and 9. The city’s health department reported that The Rock still has the fastest transmission rate of any of the Five Boroughs, with 107.95 cases per 100,000 residents.
East Williamsburg/Williamsburg, Brooklyn (11211) had the highest number of new infections reported between November 3-9, with 129 cases. Five other areas exceeded 70 new cases during the period, three of which were in Brooklyn: Midwood (11230, 81 new cases); Bergen Beach/Flatlands/Marine Park/Mill Basin (11234, 71 new cases); and Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (11229, 70 new cases).
The Ridgewood/Glendale area of Queens (11385) had the second most new COVID-19 cases during the week, at 95.
In terms of vaccinations, while nearly 75% of all residents have received at least the first dose, vaccination refusal or hesitation remains high in a number of neighborhoods.
Twelve communities still have less than 60% of the population that received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 shot. Borough Park, Brooklyn is the only community in the city where both first dose (49%) and fully vaccinated (45%) rates remain below 50%.
Edgemere/Far Rockaway, Queens, which had the second-highest 7-day positivity between November 3-9, has the second-worst first dose (53%) and fully vaccinated (47%) rates in the Five Boroughs.
Again, it’s worth noting that since vaccines became widely available in New York City in January 2021, the number of people infected with COVID-19 has been disproportionately higher for unvaccinated New Yorkers.