New York sees 30% jump in COVID deaths in December

New York sees 30% jump in COVID deaths in December

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New York state’s COVID deaths jumped 30% last month — to the highest level since early 2022 — nearly three years after the virus first ravaged the countryshows post analysis.

There were 915 deaths linked to the coronavirus and its variants in the Empire State in December — about 30 a day — compared with 664 deaths in November.

The monthly death toll reached levels not seen since February 2022, The Post review of state health department data found — and it comes despite a wide vaccines available and antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

Public health experts said the rising rate is proof COVID can still be considered a pandemic and not a rear-view mirror nuisance.

The virus has claimed more than 77,000 lives in New York City since the start of 2020, according to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Nearly 1.1 million Americans have died from an illness related to COVID, according to the CDC.
The elderly—especially those with other illnesses or the unvaccinated—are at greatest risk of hospitalization or death.

State data shows 87 percent of those who died from COVID were 60 and older, and the majority had heart or blood disease.

Deaths from COVID-19 jumped 30% in New York City last month, according to a Post analysis of data.
Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

According to health advocates, public fatigue and resistance to pushy recommendations to take precautions — such as masking — have contributed to recent spikes in hospitalizations and deaths. Mask mandates in the city and state were scrapped last year.

“Honestly, people relaxed a little bit,” said Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health. “It seems that in the current situation we’re seeing a surge of new options and people are less careful.”

El-Mohandes noted that colder weather and an influx of tourists during the holiday season were likely to have had an impact – but argued that “the pandemic is not over” and “people should not forget the risk”.

915 COVID-19 deaths are New York's most since February 2022.
915 COVID-19 deaths are New York’s most since February 2022.
Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Last spring, Dr. Anthony Fauci, former chief medical adviser to President Biden, said the US is ‘out of the pandemic phase’ — even though COVID remains highly contagious and neither the World Health Organization nor the CDC has downgraded it from pandemic status.

In a statement to The Post, the state health department said New Yorkers are facing a “triple demic” of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

“Covid-19 continues to be a major concern for public health workers, claiming lives every day in New York State, across the country and around the world,” said DOH spokesman Cort Rudy.

“High rates of influenza and RSV also combine to create what is essentially a triple demia this fall and winter. That’s why the Department continues to urge all New Yorkers to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones, including keeping up to date on vaccines, including the bivalent COVID-19 booster. These vaccines greatly reduce the chance of serious illness or death.

COVID-19 has killed more than 77,000 people in New York City since the start of 2020, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 has killed more than 77,000 people in New York City since the start of 2020, according to the CDC.
Photo by Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

State data shows that 85% of residents over 18 have received their primary series of COVID vaccinationsbut only about 15% are up to date with the latest series of boosters they include Omicron divalent booster.

The population of New York hospitalizations with COVID also increased.

Hospitalized patients with COVID as of November 1 are 2,846, with 307 in the intensive care unit. That number jumped to 3,960 hospitalizations and 413 intensive care patients by Dec. 30 — and 4,157 hospitalizations by Jan. 5, according to DOH data.

The death toll for the first week of January 2023 mirrors December, with 62 COVID-related deaths reported since last Wednesday and Thursday.

Governor Hochul said we are not out of the woods.

“I urge everyone to remain vigilant and continue to use all available tools to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe and healthy,” she said Friday.

“Keep up with vaccine doses and test before gathering or travel. If you test positive, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options.

The Ministry of Health reported that a new variant of Omicron — XBB.1.5. — is now the most dominant strain, accounting for more than 50% of COVID infections nationwide. Officials said the new variant is more infectious because it mutates, allowing it to attach to cells and replicate.

“Since its emergence, the COVID-19 virus has continued to change,” said acting state Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “The new bivalent booster has been updated to address these changes, which is why it’s so important that all New Yorkers 6 months and older get the important protection it offers.”

He said the bivalent booster provided significant protection against severe illness or hospitalization, and those with the vaccination were more than 18 times less likely to die from COVID than those not vaccinated.

The number of deaths from COVID by month in 2022 is: December 915; November 664; October 683; September 486; August 592; July 534; June 464; May 613; April 353; March 400; 1652 February; 4 592 January.

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