Evidence shows that new infections mainly occur in adults under the age of 35, who are less likely to be hospitalized. If the subvariant spreads more widely among the elderly and in nursing homes, it could have a greater impact. Citywide, 83 percent of people age 65 and older have been fully vaccinated and 56 percent have had one booster shot.
dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, predicted hospital admissions would increase, but not to the magnitude seen earlier this year as Omicron filled emergency rooms, stretching hospital staff nearly to breaking point and killing more people than 4,000 people.
“I don’t think this will be like the previous Omicron peak,” she said.
Health experts point to several factors that lead them to believe there will be fewer hospital admissions this time around.
For one, about 800,000 New Yorkers have been boosted since the peak of the Omicron wave, and more doses of antiviral pills are pouring into the city than before, though the most effective — Paxlovid — could be in short supply if cases spike rapidly. .
Epidemiologists also note that in addition to high vaccination rates, millions of New Yorkers — more than 40 percent of the city by some estimates — were infected with Omicron and now likely have strong protection against BA.2.
The potential for a new wave, which comes as many companies are recalling workers to offices and Mayor Adams urging the city to return to prepandemic normality, has left many New Yorkers questioning whether this is a time to take extra caution or not. to continue. Many, but not all, vaccinated people experience relatively mild symptoms of Omicron, including BA.2.
New York City mobilized against the coronavirus like few other American cities did: from the 7 p.m. cheers in the spring of 2020 to the widespread adoption of indoor masking to the strictest vaccine requirements in the country. But that collective effort has waned.