New York COVID cases down 75% in two weeks?

AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool

One week ago, Allahpundit dug into a report indicating that the Omicron wave in the northeast might be flattening out and fading much faster than the CDC had been predicting. As of last night, that forecast is looking a lot more solid, at least in New York state. While hospitalizations are still higher than they were at the start of the current “surge,” health officials in New York City reported that there were nearly 1,000 less than was recorded one week earlier. Over the entire state, new COVID cases dropped by a shocking 75% during the past two weeks. This led Eric Adams, the new Mayor of Gotham, to take a victory lap during his first press conference, proclaiming that the city is “moving in the right direction.” Governor Kathy Hochul was in a similarly celebratory mood, though it’s unclear what actions by either of them had to do with these results. (Gothamist)

As of Sunday, there were 5,800 patients hospitalized citywide for coronavirus, down from 6,500 on January 11th, according to state data cited by city health officials at a news briefing Tuesday.

Adams noted that trends in hospitalizations and deaths typically lag behind cases.

“So these indicators may peak later than actual cases are being shown,” he said. “But we are winning and we’re moving in the right direction.”

CBS News put out a brief video of the Governor urging caution, but assuring people that the end may be in sight.

New York City is still reporting a slower drop in new cases than the overall state results, but the seven-day average of newly reported cases has fallen to 20,000 from a high of 43,000 a couple of weeks ago. That’s a decline of more than 50%. The upstate region has receded much more quickly, accounting for the overall figure of roughly 75%.

These elected officials still have a few more questions they should be answering. First of all, there has been a massive flurry of testing going on, unlike any seen since the tests were first made widely available in the earlier days of the pandemic. Are the new case numbers dropping because fewer people are contracting the Omicron variant or are we just running out of people to test? This is yet another example of why focusing on “new cases” is a flawed approach, so hospitalizations and deaths are what we should really be tracking.

It’s also worth noting that neither Adams nor Hochul has made any dramatic changes to COVID response practices in either New York City or the state as a whole since this latest surge got underway. So taking credit for “heading in the right direction” might be a bit more self-aggrandizing than is justified under the circumstances. The Omicron wave came ashore in New York, spread just as fast as it has elsewhere, and is apparently already starting to recede, largely on its own. It just makes bigger headlines in New York City because the population density is so much higher there.

Finally, and not to put a damper on anyone’s spirits here, our politicians probably shouldn’t be talking too cheerfully about how “the end may be in sight.” That’s what we were told when the Delta wave began backing off, and then Omicron showed up. We’ve already been warned that the novel coronavirus is highly adept at mutating, just like the flu virus is. (Patients get a different flu vaccine nearly every year as medical researchers track new variations.) Doctors at Johns Hopkins issued a warning this week saying that the arrival of the next variant is a question of when, not “if.” And the next variant may not be as mild as Omicron.