As what appears to be a sixth wave of COVID-19 in New York City gains steam, positivity rates in parts of Manhattan are back at 20%, and citywide transmission rates are back to levels last seen in late May.
Some of the city’s top epidemiologists have warned over the last week that a new wave appeared to be starting, driven by the BA.5 subvariant, which some scientists consider to be the “worst version” seen yet of omicron.
Data published by the city’s Health Department Tuesday seems to bear that out.
Manhattan’s Yorkville neighborhood is at a 19.7% positivity rate, per new city maps, and parts of East Harlem are at 19.6% positivity. Elsewhere in the city, neighborhoods in Staten Island and Queens are getting closer to 25% rates.
Across the five boroughs, the transmission rate — the number of new cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days — has crossed back above 300 again for the first time since late May. In areas like Gramercy Park, that rate is actually above 450.
Though the case curve is rising again, hospitalizations and deaths (both lagging indicators) are on the decline for now.
New York City is now reevaluating its COVID alert system amid yet another pandemic wave that, unlike the others, has not seen soaring positivity rates coupled with significant increases in hospitalizations.