Despite New York City’s momentum in its accelerated reopening of the city, the COVID-19 virus has not gone away.
In recent weeks, COVID-19’s most transmissible and contagious strain to date, the Delta variant, has led to a spike in nationwide coronavirus infection rates, particularly among the unvaccinated, according to health officials.
After ending the month of June with a daily case rate of 20 to 25 cases, Bronx County saw its highest increase of COVID-19 cases on July 17, with 92 newly reported cases, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And within the borough, the Hunts Point and Castle Hill sections of the Bronx have the highest positivity rates, reaching 2.2 and 2.1% on July 17, respectively.
During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, the Bronx had the most cases and deaths per 100,000 out of NYC’s metropolitan area. According to the latest Johns Hopkins University data released on July 18, Bronx County had 178,107 reported COVID-19 cases and 6,592 COVID-related deaths.
Of the five boroughs of New York City, Staten Island had the highest rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people last month with 13,373. The Bronx was second with 10,701 per 100,000.
Roughly 49.5% of the general Bronx County population — 636,425 out of 1.4 million — have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine shot, as of Monday. According to the latest city Health Department data from Monday, 69% of NYC’s adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with roughly 64% fully vaccinated.
However, NYC reached a 1.69% positivity rate on Monday, which is up more than 64% over the past seven days compared to the weekly average for the previous four weeks, according to health data.
Data further shows that 41.9% of New York City’s general population are unvaccinated.
The city has been successful over the last month in a steady decline in new COVID infections as well as fewer hospitalizations and deaths, but new daily case counts have surged past 1,000 which dwarf the 300 to 400 daily caseload that was reported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, in prior weeks.
During a press briefing on Monday, NYC Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said that the new wave of infections are almost exclusively among unvaccinated individuals.
“Our concern is primarily for people who remain unvaccinated, which is why the single most important thing that we can do to keep individuals as well as our communities, our city, safe is to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Chokshi said.
Democratic Mayor Bill DeBlasio said during Monday’s briefing that imposing a mask mandate in the city would be “doing a disservice,” and instead, put his attention to vaccination totals in the city.
“Let’s address the problem by getting more people vaccinated and going right at it, and knocking down this variant,” DeBlasio said. “You know, a mask doesn’t arrest the progress of the variant — vaccination does. So we’re gonna go where the real impact is, that’s the bottom line.”
Forty-eight states have seen new case numbers surge at least 10% higher than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.