‘Glimmer of hope’: New York COVID infections still high but starting to slow

Governor Kathy Hochul gives a COVID-19 press briefing on Jan. 11.
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

COVID-19 infection rates started to slow down, offering a “glimmer of hope,” even as hospitalizations and deaths continued to increase, said Governor Kathy Hochul Tuesday.

State health officials logged 48,686 new cases Monday and a positivity rate of 18.61%, down from 54,749 and 19.35% the day before.

That’s still a more than fourfold increase from early December, but down thousands of cases compared to recent days. 

“We are not at the end, but I wanted to say that this is to me a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of hope at a time when we desperately need that,” Hochul said during a COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 11.

Cases recently peaked at more than 90,000 on Jan. 7 following the winter holidays and fueled by the more contagious Omicron variant, and Hochul said that upstate areas will start following downstate case rates with about a two-week delay.

Hospitalizations continued to rise to 12,540 Monday, up from 12,022 the day before and there were 160 deaths due to the virus, also an increase from 135 fatalities, according to state figures.

The state launched a new ad campaign featuring Health Commissioner Mary Bassett urging parents, pediatricians, and guardians to get younger children vaccinated, as 5-11-year-olds continue to a far lower rate of getting the shot than older age groups.

Only 32% of 5-11-year-olds have received their first dose, compared to 77% for 12-17-year-olds and 95% of adults.

Meanwhile, of kids in that youngest age group admitted to hospitals with COVID-19, 91% were unvaccinated, said Hochul, and she urged New York parents to get their kids inoculated. 

“Do I really want to visit my most precious person in my entire life, do I really want to have to visit them in a hospital,” she said. “That is the risk that these children are exposed to if they’re not vaccinated. I can’t think of a more compelling argument as a mother.”

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