COVID second wave ‘knocking at the door’ with highest numbers since late May

Tropical Storm Fay sweeps across the heavily populated northeastern United States and New York City as seen from Hoboken
A woman shields herself from rain and wind with an umbrella as she walks along the Hudson River in front of the skyline of New York City, as Tropical Storm Fay was expected to sweep across the heavily populated northeastern United States as seen from Hoboken, New Jersey, U.S., July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

It’s coming. 

A second wave of the virus is “knocking at the door” now that COVID numbers in New York City have reached their highest since late May, city health officials confirmed to amNewYork Metro. 

City Hall on Wednesday reported 817 new cases of the virus based on a seven-day average, well past the city’s threshold of 550 cases. In addition, officials reported a daily positivity rate of 2. 61 %, and a citywide positivity rate over the last week of 2.52%. COVID cases among hospital admissions are also up, with officials reporting that out of the 94 New York City residents admitted to a hospital with suspected coronavirus symptoms on Nov. 9, 26% tested positive for the virus. 

Since COVID reached New York in March, City Hall has released three sets of data daily with a two day lag in order to gauge the status of the virus and determine restrictions: the percent of New York City residents admitted to hospitals suspected of having the virus, the percent of residents testing positive for the virus every day and the percent testing positive based on a seven-day average. During the spring, the de Blasio administration also released the number of COVID patients in hospital Intensive Care Units but has since stopped publicly announcing the number daily. 

Bill Neidhardt, de Blasio’s top spokesperson, reported that every borough in the city has at least two zip codes where the COVID positivity rate is higher than 2%.  Most of Staten Island has a virus positivity rate higher than 3%, according to the city’s COVID-19 tracker. 

The borough’s COVID surge prompted the state to designate Staten Island a “yellow zone” on Wednesday with restrictions on restaurants, gyms and gatherings to begin Friday, Nov. 13. In “yellow zones,” public gatherings are limited to 25 people, indoor and outdoor dining spaces are limited to four people per table and schools must test at least 20% of all students and staff for the virus every week. 

Governor Cuomo issued additional guidelines for the state in order to fight off an impending second wave. Beginning Friday, state-licensed bars and restaurants and gyms will close at 10 p.m. Restaurants can still leave food for curbside pick-up after 10 p.m. but indoor dining will be prohibited. Private gatherings will also be capped at 10 people. 

Cuomo said that the NYPD will be tasked with enforcing the new restrictions and will issue summons to bar and restaurant owners breaking the new closing time. 

“City Hall has been in discussions with the State on these guidelines and fully supports these actions,” said Neidhardt. “We must do everything we can to hold off a second wave and these steps will help us fight it back in New York City.”