Push to vaccinate NYC continues as delta variant creates surge in COVID cases

Coronavirus

After months of a downward trend, New York City is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases. The highly contagious delta variant is to blame, experts say.

The variant is spreading fast and cases are on the rise in nearly every state. 

The 7-day rolling average shows 407 new cases daily — that’s double the infections from a week ago. City health officials are sounding the alarm. 

“As the city‘s doctor, what keeps me up at night is thinking of those New Yorkers who are unvaccinated,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.

One plan of attack is now the neighborhood approach — getting the vaccines directly to New Yorkers. There are over 800 vaccination centers throughout the city, including 75 pop-up sites like mobile vaccination vans. 

Dr. Fred Davis is the associate chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He explained to PIX11 why the Delta variant is so highly contagious.

“It allows mutations on the spike protein, which makes it easier to get in and infect cells,” said Davis. “When it [infects] someone, it actually reproduces so there’s much higher volume of this virus in someone’s respiratory tract.”

Summer travel and easing of masks mandates have seemingly helped the variants gain ground. 

“I think as we start to relax some of the restrictions and people do get more comfortable and travel more, there’s going to be an uptick of COVID in general,” said Davis. “We know the vaccinations have been effective, and effective against the delta variant.”

More evidence dropped Wednesday proving vaccines are the best defense against COVID-19 in the long-term. A Yale University study found the city’s vaccination campaign prevented over 250,000 cases, 44,000 hospitalizations and saved 8,300 lives. 

“There’s going to be outbreaks among those who are unvaccinated, particularly those in communities with low vaccination rates,” said Davis. “We are unfortunately going to see a lot more hospitalizations.”

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