Story at a glance

  • Early in the pandemic, New York emerged as one of the major hotspots for the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.
  • While it has since recovered and began vaccinating its populations, the region again has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection nationwide.
  • Neighboring New Jersey, however, tops New York with more than 300 new cases per 100,000.

An average vaccination rate isn't going to be enough for New York and New Jersey, where the COVID-19 infection rate is climbing. The former coronavirus hotspots are again the site of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the country, according to several trackers. 

Both states top NPR's heat map, which shows the risk level of infection in each state: New York with an average of 9,709 new cases per day in the last week and New Jersey with 4,395 new cases per day, which is an 11 percent jump from last week. Transmission levels are high across the entire Garden State, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, while in New York community transmission is highest in the southeast region of the state, including New York City. 


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Despite being lauded for its response to the coronavirus pandemic in the fall, avoiding the surge in states that reopened more quickly, New Jersey saw a dramatic spike after reopening at the end of winter. The state is now pausing its reopening and expanding vaccine eligibility to restaurant workers as new variants are identified in the region. 

In New York, the surge is not as deadly as it was last year, when the state was an epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, and has plateaued — albeit at a relatively high rate of infection. Still, some are questioning the state's reopening plan. 

"I ask the governor to stick to the science, trust the experts, and pause the planned reopenings now, before they take effect and more are infected," New York City's Public Advocate Jumaane Williams told The Associated Press


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Published on Mar 29, 2021