New York’s weekly COVID-19 tally fell 9% last week as authorities raced to start providing a new COVID-19 vaccine booster Wednesday to gird against the virus’ expected resurgence this fall and winter.
New York reported 29,251 new cases of coronavirus in the week ending Sunday, down from the 32,183 cases the prior week.
New York ranked 25th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
Nationally, COVID-19 cases decreased 17% from the week before, with 543,317 cases reported. Across the country, 16 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before. The Labor Day holiday, however, may have altered when and how Americans’ got tested, as well as when governments report testing results and deaths. This potentially skewed some week-to-week comparisons.
Last week, regulators granted emergency authorization to a new COVID-19 “bivalent” vaccine booster that targets both the original virus and the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which are currently driving nearly all the infections in New York.
The booster campaign will begin Wednesday in New York for ages 12 and above, health officials said, noting the shots will be available at local medical offices, pharmacies and other health care providers.
“We are hopeful these new boosters will better protect the population through the fall and winter seasons, similar to how flu vaccines are used,” state health officials said in a statement.
The agency declined to provide details about the number of doses arriving in New York, noting it did not “anticipate supply or access issues” for the new booster.
New Yorkers can find local sites offering the new booster via the vaccines.gov website, or by calling 1-800-232-0233.
“It is vital that we take advantage of the latest tools and resources at our disposal in order to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy,” Gov. Kathy Hochul added in a statement.
“As we prepare for potential fall surges, I encourage New Yorkers to stay up to date on vaccines and remain vigilant,” she said.
But the fact only 53% of New Yorkers eligible for a prior booster dose received the shot suggested this latest campaign needs to convince more people of the benefits of staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination.
Meanwhile, 168 New Yorkers were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, up from the 162 deaths the prior week and underscoring the ongoing threat from the respiratory illness.
The new Pfizer-BioNTech booster was granted emergency authorization for anyone ages 12 and up, while Moderna’s vaccine is authorized for adults only. Both were authorized for use at least two months after any previous COVID-19 shots.
Booster: How many New Yorkers will get the new COVID vaccine booster? What to know
The new booster is not likely to provide a huge benefit over the original vaccine, according to scientists. But any boost in protection is worthwhile, potentially preventing death, hospitalization and long COVID-19, government officials said.
Across New York, cases fell in 41 counties, with the best declines in Queens County, Kings County and Bronx County.
>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases
Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in:
The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.
Weekly case counts rose in 17 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week’s pace were in Tompkins, Saratoga and Albany counties.
A total of 6,002,784 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 71,180 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 94,748,404 people have tested positive and 1,047,498 people have died.
>> Track coronavirus cases across the United States
USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, Sept. 4. Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:
Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:
Hospitals in 10 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 15 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 21 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.
The USA TODAY Network is publishing localized versions of this story on its news sites across the country, generated with data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control. If you have questions about the data or the story, contact Mike Stucka at mstucka@gannett.com.

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