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De Blasio urges New Yorkers to caution as infection rates hit over 10% in 25 NYC zip codes

de blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio.
NYC Mayor's office

Up to 25 zip codes in New York City have peaked above a 10% positivity rate as one council member is raising the alarm that the race against new variants and vaccinating the public seems to be kicking into high gear.

Councilman Mark Levine posted stats from the city on Monday illustrating the apparent rise in COVID-19 positivity, even as the city and state government looks to further relaxing of restrictions.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that reversing course on COVID-19 restrictions in communities is always on the table, but will not be considered at the moment, while Governor Andrew Cuomo shut out questions from the press as the sexual harassment allegations against him continue to dominate the public eye.

“The last time the map looked like this we were about to hit the winter wave,” Levine tweeted. “This time we have vaccination on our side…and variants working against us. It adds up to a tenuous situation for the next few weeks.”

With infection rates in some parts of Staten Island reaching nearly 15%, Mayor de Blasio said the city is putting heavy emphasis on vaccinating residents, but did not want to speculate as to whether or not restrictions are necessary at this point.

“I don’t want to do theoretical because I don’t think that does justice to the subject, I’d say it this way. We need to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible. That is the one piece of the equation we fully control and that is, you know, a firm specific reality,” de Blasio said. “We want to keep doing the things that have been working. But if we see a turn, if we see the numbers going in the wrong direction, if we see, particularly the number of folks in hospitals going up and the number of folks we’re losing going up, those are different realities and then we would put different options back on.”

City Department of Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said much of the current spread is coming from “sharing of indoor air,” and that New Yorkers need to avoid travel for the time-being.

In consideration to Brazilian variant being discovered in New York as well as the identification of the New York variant, Chokshi said there has been efforts by the city to monitor how these evolutions of COVID-19 operate and how effective the existing vaccines are against them

“We do not yet have enough information to be able to answer those questions definitively, I do want to assure all New Yorkers that these are things that we are looking at very carefully because it’s very important for us to be able to, to answer those questions,” Chokshi said. “Thus far, we do not have any evidence that indicates that it causes more severe disease or leads to reinfection or will reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, but we will continue to investigate this and keep the public updated on our findings.”

Cuomo announced on Sunday that across the state, a new high watermark had been reached with 7.5 million across the state having been administered with at least one dose of the lifesaving elixir. In New York City, there are at least 2,301,134 people who have been administered with one dose of either Moderna or Pfizer and 1,189,923 are completely vaccinated, the state reported yesterday.

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