What there is to know
- Delta variant first identified in India was found in 4.9% of positive NYC samples studied, new data from the health department shows
- The B.1.1.7 strain, the one that first appeared in the UK and has become the dominant strain in the US, is still the most common COVID strain in the five boroughs; which has been linked to more serious results
- In New York City, where more than 57% of adults are fully immunized and nearly 66% have received at least one dose, state data shows baseline viral levels are at their lowest level in a year and have all-time lows.
The so-called Delta variant, the COVID-19 strain blamed for a devastating viral outbreak in India that led to a world record of daily deaths of more than 6,000 deaths this week, now accounts for nearly 5% of the positive samples studied at New York. , according to new data from the Ministry of Health.
The city still classifies this new strain as a ‘variant of interest’, which means that it has genetic markers associated with higher risks of transmission, reinfection or serious disease, as well as reduced efficacy of the drug. vaccine. Further study would be needed to confirm that this is a variant of concern. Classification for this level requires a body of scientific evidence showing that it is more likely to pose some or all of these challenges.
This Delta variant, however, is of paramount concern to national infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, who urged state officials this week to re-energize vaccination efforts before this strain becomes more predominant in the United States. for 6% of the American cases studied.
The actual proliferation in the United States, however, is likely to be higher, as the United States performs the genetic sequence on a fraction of the cases. The same could apply to New York.
“In the UK the Delta variant is quickly emerging as the dominant variant… It replaces the B.1.1.7,” said Fauci. “We cannot let this happen in the United States. “
The World Health Organization has decided to assign different letters of the Greek alphabet like Alpha, Beta and Gamma to each new mutation in the coronavirus in an effort to reduce stigma.
The B.1.1.7 strain, the one that first appeared in the UK last fall and has become the dominant strain in the US, is still the most common COVID strain in the five boroughs, according to the reports. data from the health department. This variant, called Alpha according to the new naming convention of the World Health Organization, represents 42.9% of recent positive samples studied in New York and is considered a variant of concern.
In contrast, the so-called New York City variant, also known as B.1.526 or Iota, accounts for less than a quarter of recent samples studied and does not appear to cause more serious illness than other versions of the virus. nor does it appear to increase the risk of re-infection, federal and local officials said.
Variant P.1, the one first identified in Brazil (now known as Gamma), is also under close and continuous surveillance, accounting for 7.4% of samples recently tested in New York. . That and the Alpha variant are the only two variants of concern with over 1% representation in the city at this point, according to the data.
None of the variants identified in New York so far have been classified as “high consequence variants”, which would indicate clear evidence that existing prevention tactics, including vaccination, are less effective against them.
Existing vaccines are believed to protect against variants that have emerged and those that will develop over time, which is why Fauci made this passionate call to increase vaccination rates in the United States before another wave of COVID is not threatening America.
Currently, more than a dozen states, including New York, are on track to meet President Joe Biden’s target of at least partially immunizing 70% of American adults by July 4, but many more are likely to fail, potentially putting the public at risk.
In New York City, where more than 57% of adults are fully immunized and nearly 66% have received at least one dose, state data shows baseline viral levels are at their lowest level in a year. The positivity rate has reached several historic lows.
Daily new cases are down more than 36% in the past seven days from the previous weekly average last month. Average hospitalizations fell almost 49% during this period, while confirmed daily deaths fell by 42%. The declines between January and June are even larger, the city said.
Statewide, New York on Thursday announced its 13th consecutive day of record COVID positivity. The turnover rate is 0.47%, a national low, according to Johns Hopkins University. It declined for 66 consecutive days as statewide hospitalizations fell to 758, their lowest total since Oct. 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.