For the past few summers New Yorkers haven’t been able to enjoy the hot weather due to the pandemic continuously producing variants that caused cases to spike whenever it seemed like we had things under control. Athough we’re once again living life as if COVID was yesterday’s news, think again.
Gothamist is reporting that on Tuesday (May 17) New York City’s risk level for COVID-19 was upgraded from medium to high as the rate for positive cases and COVID related hospitalizations have risen in recent weeks thanks to the Omicron variant. Though that doesn’t mean that New York will once again be going on lockdown or mandating vaccines or masks again, they are giving everyone a “strong recommendation” to wear masks whether indoor or outdoor if in a crowd of people.
This week’s advisory also said New Yorkers should “consider avoiding” high-risk settings such as crowded indoor events and that any gatherings should be limited in how many people attend. The health commissioner made a similar recommendation in early May, when the city moved from low to medium risk.
“As a city, we have the tools to blunt the impact of this wave, including distributing tests, masks and promoting treatments,” Vasan said in a statement on Tuesday. “Getting back to Low Risk depends on everyone doing their part and if we follow guidance, our forecasts anticipate this wave’s peak will not last long. What we do now can make all the difference.”
Under the CDC’s COVID Community levels, an area goes from low to medium if more than 200 positive cases per 100,000 residents over the most recent seven days are recorded. Medium goes to high if 10 new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents are recorded over a week or if more than 10% of its hospital capacity is occupied by coronavirus patients. Apparently that happens to be the case as NYC has now hit the “High Risk” threshold due to hospital admissions across the five boroughs, but not the cutoff for hospital capacity.
In other words, it’s going to be a hot and complicated summer as The Rona has once again reared it’s ugly head but it doesn’t seem like we’re going to be forced to wear masks, get vaccinated or even remain at home for weeks at a time.
On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams also announced a plan to increase the distribution of free at-home tests and high-quality masks at public schools and other cultural landmarks over the next month. The plan mimics a similar scale-up of at-home tests that was announced in early April, as COVID-19 cases began to trend upwards.
Stay safe out there y’all and mind y’all surroundings whenever you don’t have a mask on.