More than one year into the pandemic, several states are seeing troubling trends when it comes to COVID-19.
New York and New Jersey are topping the nation in new cases, with variants accounting for a majority of those cases, and a substantial rise in children infected with the virus.
All this, as the city relaxes its rules when it comes to public schools.
NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi spoke to PIX11 News and explained how the city is working to fight the spread of the virus and keep New Yorkers safe.
Almost 80% of new cases reported in the five boroughs are the variants that were initially reported in the United Kingdom and New York City, Chokshi said.
“We remain at too high of a level of cases across the city, generally about 3,500 new cases each day,” the health commissioner said.
To curb the spread of the virus, we need to remain vigilant in precautions, according to Chokshi, which includes getting vaccinated.
When asked if there is any indication that vaccines aren’t working on these variants, Chokshi said it is something they’re following closely. As of right now, health officials do not, at this point, have any indication that they’re not working against those two variants.
Rise in cases among children
There appears to be a rise in cases among younger groups nationwide. However, despite that trend, the health commissioner said it’s not a particular trend the city is seeing.
Instead, Dr. Chokshi said New York City is seeing some increase in cases among younger adults.
The increase is likely driven by the fact older adults are getting vaccinated, which is why it is critically important for everyone to get vaccinated when they can.
NYC new school closure rule
Amid the concerns of rising cases, New York City is relaxing its rules when it comes to schools — The mayor announcing the replacement of the schools two-case closure rule.
“We’ve created the gold standard for health and safety for our schools,” Chokshi said.
The city has taken multiple layers of precautions for safety in schools, including having the ability to quarantine classrooms and in some cases, closing schools if there’s transmission occurring in schools.
The new school closure policy brings all those tools while providing stability and safety, he added.
Dr. Fauci warns for potential fourth wave
Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned of a potential fourth wave. Dr. Chokshi said the city needs to continue to remain cautious on reopening.
“We cannot give this virus any ground,” he said.
He urges New Yorkers to remain vigilant and follow the “safe six,” which include washing hands, keep wearing masks, keep distance from others, stay home if you’re feeling sick, get tested and get vaccinated.
There have been reports of adverse reactions to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Dr. Chokshi said they have not seen any particular signals and have been proven to be safe.
City health officials coordinate with the CDC on reports, but if any changes made, they are communicated back to New Yorkers.
More than 4 million doses have been administered in New York City, and Dr. Chokshi believes that we will reach the mayor’s goal of vaccinating 5 million people.
“We know what works to keep people safe,” Dr. Chokshi said.
He reminded people to have smaller gatherings, spend time outdoors rather than indoors and wear masks.
“We’ve all been through too much over the past year.”