As virus cases rise, New Yorkers are feeling a familiar fear

Each day, New York state averaged more than 10,600 infections, more than any other state, and hospitalizations were also increasing, albeit more slowly. The city’s test positivity rate doubled in just three days, to 7.8 percent on Sunday compared to 3.9 percent the previous Thursday, raising alarm bells among city officials and residents.

The number of new cases reported statewide on Thursday alone — 18,276, with more than 8,300 in New York City — was the highest since at least January. However, hospital admissions remain a fraction of what they were in the city’s deadly first wave of virus, with about 1,000 people now hospitalized in New York City, compared to more than 15,000 at its peak in April 2020.

It is not yet known to what extent Omicron will cause serious illness. Scientists believe vaccines will still protect against the worst outcomes, and boosters are likely to provide additional protection against infection, preliminary data suggests.

The picture of public health in other states also became more bleak. Connecticut averages more than 2,600 new cases per day, up from about 330 in early November, and Rhode Island adds the highest number of cases in the country. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania have the highest rates of coronavirus hospitalization.

In Rhode Island, Dr. Wilfredo Giordano-Perez, who sits on the governor’s vaccination committee, said the number of people cutting vacation plans still seemed quite small. “I wish I heard more about that,” he said. “I think people are going to take their chances, thinking they’ve done everything they could do so far.”

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