What there is to know
- New York City health officials say there is “significant concern” in an increase in COVID-19 cases in six neighborhoods; the city gathers the biggest wave in a group called “Ocean Parkway Cluster”
- “At this point, these increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken,” the Department of Health said.
- In some parts of the cluster, positivity rates approach 5 percent; Mayor Bill de Blasio said ‘urgent action’ needed to contain it
Even as New York City officials battle a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in several neighborhoods, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday it was already time to start looking and planning for the future.
“I don’t want to forget what we’ve been through for a moment. It is unfortunately unforgettable, March, April, one of the worst moments in the history of this city, ”said de Blasio in a major political speech in front of the Alexandria Center for Life Science in Manhattan. “I don’t want to minimize how bad this has been and how long it will last with us.”
But he said that thanks to the work of first responders and residents, the city has turned the corner.
“And now, we note with pride as New Yorkers that we have moved from the epicenter of the crisis to the envy of the nation,” he said.
De Blasio laid the groundwork for what he called the city’s “stimulus package”, claiming that “public health is economic health”.
There were four core principles on the agenda: continued progress against COVID-19, investments in innovation in public health research, creation of new jobs to improve public health, and a focus on historically underserved communities.
“New York must be a global hub for public health research, for the development and for the practice of new ideas and approaches. We have to do it because we can’t depend on anyone else to do it, ”he said.
The city is expected to offer more details on De Blasio’s agenda in the coming weeks – although there are only 15 months left before he leaves office, it remains to be seen how much change is possible before the next mayor will take over.
Daily percentage of positive tests by New York region
With all of New York State in a phase of reopening, Governor Andrew Cuomo is focused on daily monitoring test results in each region to identify potential hot spots before they emerge. Here is the latest tracking data by region. For the latest county-wide statewide results, click here
Le cluster Ocean Parkway
Yet even as de Blasio laid out his vision for the future, workers in the town a few miles away were still struggling with the current crisis. On Wednesday, the mayor said “urgent action” such as awareness, education and social distancing / mask application was underway to stop the increased spread of the coronavirus in six neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens . De Blasio has not indicated any potential backtracking from the reopens, but he hasn’t ruled out anything either, vowing to do ‘whatever it takes’.
The so-called Ocean Parkway Cluster had 122 cases of the coronavirus on August 1, but that doubled to 241 on September 5. The numbers have only worsened since then, with 381 cases last weekend.
Team coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
The increase in positive COVID cases occurred in Williamsburg (where the positivity rate was 2%), Kew Gardens (2.24% positivity), Edgemere-Far Rockaway (3.69% positivity) and a section of Brooklyn which includes Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst – an area where the positivity rate has climbed to 4.71%, according to the New York Department of Health.
The peak occurred between August 1 and September 19, the department said. The new “Ocean Parkway Cluster” is a group of four neighborhoods that has seen coronavirus rates triple during that seven week period. These four areas have produced 20% of all COVID cases citywide since Saturday.
“At this point, these increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken,” the health ministry said in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation for the need to take further action in these areas. ”
New York City officials are on alert as six neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens experience significant spikes in COVID-19 cases – just as leaders around the world are starting to see signs of a potential second wave. Reports by John Chandler of NBC New York.
In the meantime, the health department has reminded New Yorkers of the main ways to slow and stop the spread: avoid large gatherings, wear headgear, stay away socially, get tested, and don’t. not rely on antibody test results to determine whether you should return to work or school. In particular, health officials and contact tracers said large indoor gatherings like weddings and bar mitzvahs in the region had contributed to the recent dramatic increases.
Overall, New York City’s infection rate is low, with just 1.1% of the more than 26,000 tests done on Tuesday coming back positive, according to the latest data released Wednesday. By borough, the highest overall positivity rate is in Brooklyn (1.6%), which experienced a 0.2% increase in positivity from the previous day. Mayor de Blasio has warned that impending reopens, like restaurants inside, could be reassessed if the city-wide infection rate reaches 2% – and if it reaches 3%, that could immediately justify the closure of schools.
Statewide, the infection rate also remains low. It has been 1% or less for over a month. But there are clear signs of concern. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he was keeping a close watch on New York City, acknowledging the Brooklyn cluster without raising a major alert – yet. He said New York was OK for now.
Cuomo also points to a further increase in cases of more than 15% in 10 days nationwide as a reason to remain vigilant. Five more states were added to the tri-state quarantine list this week amid the latest national increases, bringing the total number of restricted US states and territories to 35.
“New York won’t be completely safe until other states are completely safe,” Cuomo said Thursday.
Nationwide, nearly 7 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States have been confirmed and at least 200,000 people have died from the virus, according to NBC News. New York state alone has confirmed nearly half a million cases and more than 25,000 confirmed deaths, although officials agree that thousands more are likely linked to the virus.
Fall poses a new set of challenges, with flu season approaching and schools reopening to in-person learning, Cuomo said. He plans to monitor school districts “very carefully” and urges them to respond quickly if they notice any potential problems.
His administration has unveiled an online COVID report that details daily data from every school in New York City on positive cases of students and teachers. Find the latest data available for your school here.