NYC says unvaccinated young people are behind Staten Island’s uptick in Covid cases
Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
Some neighborhoods in New York City are seeing a slight increase in the number of coronavirus cases for the first time in weeks, as vaccinations slow and the Delta variant continues to spread. According to the city’s Health Department, the city’s seven-day average rate of positivity increased to 1.28 percent as of Monday, the highest rate in nearly two months, with 363 new cases on a seven-day rolling average. With a seven-day positivity of over 2.4 percent as of July 9, Staten Island has the highest test positivity rate of any borough. City officials point to those who remain unvaccinated, “particularly younger people,” as the reason for this uptick.
“The spread of the Delta variant means that it is perhaps the most dangerous time to be unvaccinated,” Dave Chokshi, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said during a press briefing on Monday.
According to city data from July 3 to July 9, eight of 15 New York City ZIP Codes with the highest rates of positivity are on Staten Island, with the neighborhoods of Tottenville and Great Kills reaching over 4 percent positive across seven days. Vaccination rates in those two neighborhoods are roughly 43 percent and 48 percent of residents with at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We’re seeing, for example, in Staten Island the percent positivity and the case numbers have increased in recent days and weeks,” Chokshi added. “That’s because we have unvaccinated individuals, particularly young people, who remain unvaccinated.”
“My message is to convey a clear sense of urgency that we have to make sure as many people are as protected as possible in the next few weeks,” he said.
To make it easier to get a vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio last month announced all eligible New Yorkers can receive a vaccination at home. Anyone requesting an at-home vaccination can request their vaccine brand preference. (Sign up here).
And despite the slow down of vaccination from a high in April, de Blasio said on Monday that over 9.6 million doses of the vaccine have been administered total. According to data updated on Tuesday, 69 percent of adult residents citywide have received at least one dose, with 64 percent fully vaccinated. Hospitalization rates and deaths continue to decline.
“Publicly, what we’re seeing is, again, some greater number of cases and positivity, but we also see the thing we care about the most, thank God, hospitalizations staying very low and people not being put in dangerous results,” de Blasio said during a press briefing on Monday.