COVID positivity rates in parts of New York City are back over 20% as the 5th wave of the pandemic spreads throughout the state, driven by a highly contagious new subvariant.
The rolling seven-day positivity rate in Long Island City now stands at 21.3%, according to the latest data posted by the city. Large swaths of Queens near or top 15% as well, along with Manhattan neighborhoods like the Financial District and Lincoln Square.
Citywide, the transmission rate has risen to levels last seen in late January, up almost 20% in a week and almost 90% in a month.
The city already raised its alert level to “medium” last week, and on Thursday, Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan told CNN all options could be on the table — including the return of a mask mandate — if things continue getting worse.
But even as more people get infected, fewer people are ending up in the hospital. Hospitalization rates in the city have dropped in recent days and are now back to where they were in early April.
As is typical now, hospitalization rates are essentially flat among the vaccinated (boosted or not), while soaring among the unvaccinated.

The problem is not confined to the city, though – it’s a statewide issue, as the highly contagious subvariant B.2.12.1 spreads around New York.
Last Tuesday, statewide hospitalizations crossed 2,000 for the first time in three months, and on Wednesday, the number of new daily cases topped 10,000 for the first time since late January.
In both cases, that’s about triple where those metrics were a month ago.
On Friday, New York reported 13,902 new positive tests – about 65% higher than just a week previously. Hospitalizations are now at 2,187, up nearly 10% in a week.
Two NYC boroughs — Manhattan and Staten Island — are now considered medium-risk COVID counties by the CDC. Of the 56 U.S. counties with a high-risk CDC designation as of May 4, more than half were in New York state.
Gov. Kathy Hochul became the latest New Yorker to enter isolation Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19.
The governor announced the positive test result on Twitter, adding a reminder for all eligible New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted.
“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, I’m vaccinated and boosted, and I’m asymptomatic. I’ll be isolating and working remotely this week,” Hochul tweeted.

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