A mobile coronavirus detection unit, on May 3 in downtown New York. SPENCER PLATT (AFP)
After exceeding the painful mark of one million deaths from coronavirus, the US is about to cross new incidence thresholds due to the rapid spread of the omicron BA.2 subvariant.
New York has declared this Tuesday the orange or high level of alert, after registering an increase in positivity in the last two weeks.
The mayor, Eric Adams, and the city's health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, had in recent days redoubled their call for protection, by using reinforced KN95-type masks indoors, including stores, common areas of residential buildings, offices and other places of public use, spaces where the mask has been conspicuous by its absence for weeks.
With the new alert, they can become mandatory again.
In the past seven days, new cases per 100,000 people topped 300 citywide, with Staten Island the area with the highest incidence, with 390, followed by Manhattan with 366. A month ago, the citywide rate was less than 200 per 100,000 inhabitants.
In the last seven days, around 8% of people tested have tested positive.
New cases have increased 57% in the last 14 days, and hospitalizations, 26%, according to the daily count of the newspaper
The New York Times
The death toll continues to decline, with a negative rate of 9%.
The alert level had been raised in early May in the city, to the medium level, while mobile virus detection laboratories, which had disappeared from the streets, sprouted again on every corner;
also the stalls that offer vaccines against covid.
But the rebound in hospitalizations, which adds pressure to a health system exhausted after two years of continuous effort, has forced the Department of Health to intervene to control the umpteenth wave of the pandemic as much as possible.
The rapid expansion of the BA.2.12.1 subvariant, the one prevalent in the city, advises extreme precautions, especially among the most vulnerable population or those who, because they are not vaccinated, offer a greater target to the virus.
Among the non-immunized, a specific population group stands out, those under five years of age, who in the last omicron wave, the one registered in January, became massively ill and a notable percentage required hospitalization.
The FDA, an acronym for the federal Food and Drug Administration, has authorized precisely this Tuesday the booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years of age.
New York City has transitioned to a high COVID alert level, meaning now is the time to double down on protecting ourselves and each other by making choices that can keep our friends, neighbors, relatives and coworkers from getting sick.
— Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD (@NYCHealthCommr) May 17, 2022
Among the warnings from the health authorities is to avoid concentrations and crowded environments, especially for the most vulnerable population.
A recommendation that supposes a new setback for the commercial and cultural activity of the city after two years of crossing in the desert.
New York was betting this season on attracting mass tourism again, although without reaching the more than 66 million people who visited the city in 2019. The new restrictions in China have also deprived the Big Apple of one of the main emitting sources , as a result of visa limitations imposed on tourists of that nationality.
In a country where healthcare is a colossal market that moved 3.6 billion dollars in 2019, almost 18% of GDP -latest data available-, the New York State public health network stands out.
Not only because of the permanent information and guidelines issued regularly by the health authorities;
also for the attention, almost personalized, of the system.
When a resident of the city - also undocumented immigrants, who do not have to show any documentation to access the tests - tests positive at any of the express detection centers, they receive a call from a doctor to ask about the symptoms and offer them, if these are severe, antiviral treatment is available, free of charge.
The interested party also receives an SMS to remind them of all the
The city has also resumed the free mass mailing program of home tests to all households that request it.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.