State Watch

New York breaks daily COVID-19 case record for fourth straight day

New York broke its single daily record for positive coronavirus cases for the fourth straight day on Sunday as the state grapples with the new omicron variant.

New York reported more than 23,000 cases on Dec. 19, a record driven by more than 15,000 cases in New York City alone. The city has been reporting nearly 10,000 positive cases a day for the past week.

The state overall is reporting more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, with 769 in the ICU.

The news follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement on Monday that omicron, a variant still being studied but believed to be more transmissible than the delta strain, accounted for 73 percent of all new infections last week in the U.S.

Omicron is likely surging in a state that has already seen more than 58,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) urged New York residents to get vaccinated as the state faces an uncertain winter.

“There is no reason, with all the resources available to us … there is no excuse not to get the adults vaccinated, get the kids vaccinated,” she said. “We can put this pandemic in the rearview mirror. We’ll talk about it in the past tense, not the current tense.” 

New York’s adult population is 82 percent fully vaccinated. Both Moderna and Pfizer have said their vaccines are effective against the omicron variant, especially with the addition of a booster or third vaccination shot.

Amid the outbreak, New York City public schools are struggling with staff shortages and testing ahead of winter break, according to the New York Daily News. Among students and staff, more than 800 have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday.

President Biden on Tuesday will announce a plan to deploy emergency medical teams to assist states, The Washington Post reported. Biden will also open federal testing sites for COVID-19, starting with one in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday said there would be no more shutdowns, and the best way out of the pandemic would be to vaccinate everyone.

The mayor offered $100 incentives for people to get their booster shots starting Tuesday until the end of the year. He said “vaccination is the way to protect against omicron” and “vaccination equals freedom.”

“It’s going to be a challenging few weeks,” he said in a video. “We’re seeing a big upsurge in cases … it will be a tough few weeks and we need to do everything possible to address that.”

Other states are grappling with record cases and hospitalizations, including Wisconsin and Michigan.

Tags Bill de Blasio case surges coronavirus coronavirus restrictions COVID-19 hospitals Joe Biden Kathy Hochul New York New York City Omicron pandemic positive cases

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