Increasing Covid Transmission Rates in New York: What Do They Mean?


Benjamin Griffin, Staff Writer

New York’s Covid-19 infection rate remains one of the lowest in the country, however researchers’ latest transmission reports are all but encouraging. Following a promising summer of stable infections and a shockingly low death count, the empire state is seeing a somewhat steady increase of cases as the month of November approaches. 

A total of 1,788 new instate coronavirus cases were reported by The New York Times on October 17th, complete with a weekly average of 1,394 cases per day. This indicates a 13% increase from the prior week, making the number of cases similar to the number in June. This increase may be linked to several cluster zones throughout the Hudson Valley and upstate regions. However, as national cases and transmission rates rise, various concerns are arising. 

According to The Atlantic, since October 1, Coronavirus hospitalizations have gone up by  54%. Along with transmission rates, concerns amongst citizens have grown simultaneously. Although various clusters and gatherings are quick to be called out for causing spikes in local cases, transmission rates growing statewide allude to the possibility that both environmental and social changes could be to blame. Following the start of school for most of the state, gatherings of students both in and out of school have increased. In late September, a sweet 16 party was pronounced a superspreader event by Suffolk County officials in Long Island, with 29 guests testing positive for the virus. While out of school events such as sweet 16 parties are not under strict control, in school infections have been well-prevented through the effectuation of social distancing and mask-wearing procedures. Schools have done a commendable job at both preventing and quickly stopping the virus’ spread by way of these procedures and temporary shutdowns. However, as schools and workplaces reopen, it is inevitable that cases rise. Although statistics show that children under the age of 18 are less likely to contract the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that teenagers could be more susceptible than younger school-age children. The WHO also warns that children who have contracted Covid may never experience symptoms, meaning they could be unknowingly transmitting the virus to older loved ones, teachers and friends. That being said, schools’s efforts to enforce CDC guidelines have proven effective, as a limited amount of school based outbreaks have occurred since September. Increased contact and disregard for guidelines, among other possibilities, are strongly reflected in October’s trends, and spikes fear in many people at the thought of a possible second-wave. It has been suggested that temperature changes, increased testing, and strain-changes throughout the state could be causing the increase in infection rates as well.

 With the holidays approaching, a jolt in cases in New York serves as a warning for travelers from both inside and outside the state that covid remains a threat. State officials hope that the spike in cases will reinforce the importance of social distancing and limitation of guests. More than likely, if trends persist, cases will spike again between the end of November and December, despite the CDC’s early release of safe holiday procedures. With this in mind, New York City officials have already cancelled one of the country’s most anticipated holiday events; the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square. Fortunately, however, New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio revealed that the 2020 Macy’s Day Parade is still scheduled, yet “It will not be the same parade we’re used to; it will be a different kind of event,” DeBlasio stated. Similar to the past few months, the future is completely uncertain. If anything is for sure, though, it’s that the integration of social distancing and mask wearing procedures into everyday activities is still vital.

Disclaimer: This article pulls upon coverage from The Atlantic and The CDC

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