Cases in New York City’s school system have also steadily risen. The daily average of new cases reported in the public school system last week was 1,216, alarming some parents.
“The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority,” Jenna Lyle, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor science and make adjustments if necessary, with the health and safety of our students and employees being paramount.”
The number of known cases is much lower than during the winter, when the state was first hit by the highly contagious variant of the virus, Omicron, and the number of cases in city schools was about 14,000 in January.
However, Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health, noted that testing is much lower than it once was. And commonly used home tests usually go unreported. Both factors mean that the number of cases can be much higher than the official counts.
About 77 percent of people are fully vaccinated in the state, a figure rising to 79 percent in New York City. Covid-19 treatments available to certain at-risk populations can also reduce the number of severe cases and keep hospital admissions relatively low.
“We have very good vaccination coverage and while the booster coverage has not been great, it has been stable for a while,” said Dr. nash.
“I don’t think we know yet if we can handle a big wave of transmission without seeing a substantial increase in hospitalizations and deaths,” he added.
If hospitalizations and deaths begin to rise rapidly, government officials should consider “some reintroduction of measures to protect New Yorkers,” said Dr. nash.
Emma G. Fitzsimmons reported.