Story at a glance
- Officials report trend data for coronavirus in cities like New York.
- Other parts of the country are still seeing cases rise.
- Governors in Virginia and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency.
Daily cases in New York City are still around 40,000, but government officials are saying the data looks hopeful that it’s may be getting better. This would follow a similar pattern that officials in South Africa and the U.K. saw with rapid increases in cases due to the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and then steep drops in cases soon after.
The rate of increase in coronavirus cases in New York seems to be slowing down, although the total number is still up there.
“They’re still high, but we are not at the end, but I want to say that this is, to me, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of hope in a time when we desperately need that,” N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said in a press conference. Hochul also announced that the statewide positivity rate was down to 18.6 percent and 12,540 New Yorkers currently hospitalized.
Health officials in Boston have been tracking the coronavirus through wastewater surveillance. Recent data shows a sharp drop in detection of the virus in wastewater. William Hanage, an epidemiology professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a scientific advisor to the company that conducts the testing, said “I did literally let out a hoot of excitement” when he saw the data, to the Boston Globe. It’s still possible for cases to plateau or even start trending upwards again, said Hanage.
But in other parts of the country, the omicron variant is surging. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a 30-day state of emergency in Virginia, and so did Gov. Phil Murphy (D) for New Jersey. In D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) declared a public health emergency until Jan. 26. Cases continue to climb in San Francisco, where officials hope the omicron surge will peak shortly.
“You got a picture of an East Coast that’s rapidly improving, a Southeast that’s not far behind, a Midwest that’s maybe a week behind the East Coast while the West Coast has not yet peaked,” said David Rubin at PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to The Washington Post. “Our assessment is we have likely peaked as a country.”
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