COVID-19: Vaccinations shielding Bronxites despite rise in cases

A COVID-19 testing site is pictured in Times Square, New York City on Dec. 5, 2021.
Photo Kena Betancur via Getty Images

On Dec. 11, the Bronx saw a COVID-19 case load of 539 — a total that has been rising by the hundreds since late October — although deaths and hospitalizations remain low thanks to the borough’s progress in inoculations, with 75% of its residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, entering Monday.

The northernmost borough was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but have fared well comparatively to its surrounding boroughs in 2021. As of Monday, the Bronx is averaging 24.3 daily new cases per 100,000. By comparison, New York County is seeing a spread of 27.8 cases per 100,000, while Kings and Queens counties pace NYC with daily caseloads of 30 per 100,000.

While areas in the Bronx like Wakefield’s 10470 and Morris Park’s 10461 ZIP codes are seeing more than 20 cases per 100,000 — the median spread per ZIP code is 18.6 per 100,000 residents entering Monday, both sections have vaccination rates of 72% and 86%, respectively.

State data shows the hospitalizations and deaths are wholly dependent on vaccination status with unvaccinated virus carriers being hospitalized nearly four times more than those who are inoculated — citywide hospitalizations per 100,000 vaccinated people is at 0.3, while hospitalizations per 100,000 unvaccinated people are 4.1.

In New York state, there were 7,000 cases per day for the seven-day period that ended last Wednesday, according to state data, and hospitalizations are also spiking in the northern and western parts of the state.

On Monday, New York’s new statewide mask mandate for most indoor activity – unless a business or venue requires all patrons and staff to be fully vaccinated, went into effect.

The new mandate, which takes effect today, will require anyone over the age of two to wear a mask covering their face and nose at all times while in an indoor public space. Businesses and venues that choose to impose a vaccine mandate would not be required to also mandate masks, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office.

Violators of the mandate are subject to a $1,000 fine, Hochul said, and local health departments will be tasked with enforcing the mandate. The measure will remain in place until Jan. 15, after which the state will re-evaluate the mandate.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes. 

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