90% of New Yorkers Received Vaccine, Why Are COVID-19 Cases Increasing?
New York residents have been getting vaccinated, but the COVID-19 positivity rates in many regions in the state are worse than pre-vaccine numbers. As a matter of fact, the county that is home to New York's second-biggest city, Buffalo, just issued a new indoor mask mandate. Erie County Executive, Mark Poloncarz announced that the new mandate has been put in place to try to lower WNY's COVID-19 positivity rate, which was almost 10 percent as of Sunday, November 21, 2021 (see below).
Erie County will implement a 4 phase approach. Effective as of 11/23/21, we will enter into Phase One. There will be a mask mandate for all patrons and public facing staff, inside all public locations in Erie County. If Phase 1 can reduce the number of positive cases and decrease our hospital admission numbers, then we can prevent entering into a Phase 2. The plan is to assess the need for additional measures using COVID-19 case data, case rate and hospitalizations, unless conditions require an earlier implementation.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced today, November 22, 2021, that 90 percent of all New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"As of today, 90 percent of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine - while that is an incredible achievement, it's crucial we continue to take precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from this deadly virus as we head into the holiday season. We know the tools to stop the spread of COVID: Get vaccinated, get the booster if you are already vaccinated, and please stay home if you're feeling sick. The vaccine and booster is safe, free and widely available. Don't put it off any longer."
A total of 29,149,973 vaccine doses have been administered around the state. The question then becomes, why are the COVID-19 7-day averages of positive cases increasing in many regions around the state?
Here’s Where COVID-19 Is Spreading At Alarming Rates in New York State
Some areas of New York State are experiencing alarming increases in their COVID-19 positivity rates. According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul's daily report released today, November 22, these regions have the highest 7-day averages (all of the rates above 5 percent are bolded).
|Region||Friday, November 19, 2021||Saturday, November 20, 2021||Sunday, November 21, 2021|
|Central New York||6.45%||6.70%||6.73%|
|New York City||1.57%||1.60%||1.63%|
|Western New York||9.48%||9.65%||9.79%|
Seven out of the 10 regions in the state have positivity rates of more than 5 percent. Only New York City is still in the 1 - 2 percent range.
Nearly 10,000 Fully Vaccinated New Yorkers Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19
While the COVID-19 vaccine does protect people against the virus, especially from hospitalization or death, there have been almost 10,000 New Yorkers were hospitalized, even after they got vaccinated. The "breakthrough" data, which is reported by New York State, shows that 9,636 people who are fully vaccinated, have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. That's .08 percent of the fully vaccinated population. More than 150,000 fully vaccinated residents have contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, as of November 15, 2021.
- 151,316 laboratory-confirmed breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully-vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 1.2% of the population of fully-vaccinated people 12-years or older.
- 9,636 hospitalizations with COVID-19 among fully-vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 0.08% of the population of fully-vaccinated people 12-years or older.
Even though health officials consider the vaccine to be an effective defense against COVID-19, there has been a decline in the rate of protection, according to the NYS Department of Health,
For the week of May 3, 2021, the estimated vaccine effectiveness shows fully-vaccinated New Yorkers had a 91.8% lower chance of becoming a COVID-19 case, compared to unvaccinated New Yorkers.
I don't have an answer as to why even though we have access to the vaccine and are clearly getting vaccinated, the spread is still increasing, but it's worrying. We have just barely entered the cold months, when most New Yorkers are staying indoors, making it much more difficult to physically distance themselves. Also, flu season adds even more threat to the risk of getting really sick this winter. I hope that local health departments across the state can figure out how to get our numbers back down!