Nearly three years after the coronavirus first ravaged the state, COVID-19 deaths in New York state spiked 30% in December to the highest tally since early 2022.
The New York Post’s analysis shows that compared with 664 deaths in November, there were 915 deaths – or about 30 a day – linked to coronavirus and its variants in the Empire State in December.
The newspaper’s review of state Health Department data, which comes despite widely available vaccines and antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19, found that since February 2022, the monthly death toll hit levels unseen since.
The number of residents hospitalized with COVID has also surged. The state Health Department warned that, at the moment, New Yorkers are facing a “triple-demic” of COVID-19, the flu, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) with COVID continuing to be a primary concern for public health officials.
DOH spokesman Cort Ruddy reiterated the Department’s advice for all New Yorkers to take precautions to protect themselves, including staying up to date on vaccines that, as he underscored, greatly reduce the chance of serious illness or death.
According to state data, only about 15% of New Yorkers are up to date with the latest booster series – which include the Omicron bivalent booster – despite the fact that 85% of residents over 18 have received their primary series of COVID vaccination.
This rising trend, according to public health experts, is another proof that rather than a rear-view mirror nuisance, COVID can still be considered a pandemic.
Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health, noted that people have let their guard down a bit which appears to have led to the current situation with a surge in new variants.
Arguing that the pandemic is not over and that people should not be oblivious to the risk, Dr. El-Mohandes pointed out that colder weather and the influx of holiday-season tourists also had an impact.
Data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control shows that since early 2020, nearly 1.1 million Americans have died from COVID-related illness, with more than 77,000 of them being in New York.
The New York State data showed that elderly people, particularly the unvaccinated and those with other illnesses, were most at risk for hospitalization or death with stats pointing out that 87% of New Yorkers who’ve died from the virus are 60 and over, and a majority had heart or blood-related illnesses.