NYC reports no new COVID deaths: When is a pandemic no longer a pandemic?

Coronavirus

Mayor Bill de Blasio was upbeat as he announced encouraging COVID numbers Tuesday. 

“We are going to remember June 1 because we have hit an extraordinary milestone today here in New York City,” said de Blasio. 

The milestone the mayor is referring to is the citywide positivity rate, which is down to 0.83%. 

The average number of new cases is just 271 per day, based on a 7-day rolling average. These are the lowest numbers during the entire pandemic.  

“It’s absolutely amazing,” said de Blasio. “This is a testament to the power of vaccination, this is a testament to the willpower of New Yorkers.” 

For the first time in months, there were no COVID-related deaths in New York City on Monday. 

Some are wondering, when can we declare the pandemic over. Dr. John Whyte is WebMD’s chief medical officer. 

“A pandemic means an epidemic, that it’s global, it’s in multiple countries,” said Whyte. “Can we say that the epidemic is soon to be over in the United States, I don’t think we’re quite at that point because we’re still having cases and hospitalizations.”

Whyte adds we likely will never get to zero cases, but at some point the virus may be reclassified.

“It may be something we call endemic, that there is a baseline number of cases throughout the year that may be seasonal, like the flu or the cold,” said Whyte. 

The main reason for the downward trend? 

“It’s directly related to the immunization rates we’ve seen across the country,” said Whyte. 

Encouraging data shows 43% of eligible city residents are fully vaccinated and 51% have received at least one dose.

Another reason for the decline may be COVID patients with active antibodies; they’re included in the population with immunity.

“When you add the number of people who have been vaccinated along with those people, who have gotten COVID and recovered, we may be at around 60 to 65%, that’s what most experts are predicting,” said Whyte. 

Public health experts add even if you’ve had COVID, you should still get vaccinated. Variants are continuing to circulate and you can get reinfected. Additionally, a vaccine provides much stronger immune response. 

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