The threshold for the daily number of people admitted to NYC hospitals for suspected COVID-19 is 200 patients. Today’s report from Mayor Bill de Blasio shows 62 patients with a confirmed positivity rate of 19.7%. The threshold for reported cases on a seven-day average is 550 cases; today’s report is 496. And the threshold for the percentage of people testing positive citywide for COVID-19 is 5%; today’s report is 2.52%.
“We’re definitely seeing a leveling off all over the city. As you saw, that seven-day rolling average number – knock on wood. We have every single day more work to do. And again, we’re not out of the woods in those red and orange zones, but, in general, the city continues to do well,” de Blasio said at this morning’s press conference. “And the key here is… to encourage more testing. We have a lot of areas where I’d like to see more testing. We definitely want to keep reminding people – I know there’s fatigue out there, but how important it is to keep wearing the masks.”
When asked why and how numbers were “leveling off,” and whether it had to do with mass testing or people simply complying, de Blasio said that it was a little bit of both.
“I think what we learned long ago in places like Sunset Park and Soundview is when you alert people to a problem and you educate and you do mask distribution, things like that, it really does help get folks to be more disciplined. We certainly see in the red and orange zones, more and more people wearing masks more and more people practicing social distancing – that really helps unto itself,” he said.
“A lot of New Yorkers never got tested at all that actually makes it harder to understand what’s going on. So I think we clearly are seeing an uptick in testing now that we’ve sounded the alarm and it does not surprise me at all – the more testing, the clearer picture, and typically what we found is the more testing, the better of the picture becomes.”
Both the Mayor and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave Chokshi acknowledged that the concept of trust will be even more important, come the vaccine.
“I’ll just add one brief point here, which is a first to underline yes, how important and how much of a pillar this idea of addressing trust will have to be to our vaccination strategy for COVID-19 in New York City,” Chokshi said.
“People still do trust their doctors,” he said, “So a big part of what we will do is not just the citywide, public messaging about the science, about the validity of the studies that we’re looking at, but really working hand in hand with trusted community physicians and other health care providers as well.”
As for the number of coronavirus-related deaths, Chokshi noted that there wasn’t a big increase.
“We are not seeing an increase in overall deaths and that’s been true over the last several weeks to several months… the total number of deaths per day is averaging in the single digits, and we do have this specific sample on our data page for the Department of Health,” he said.
“One really important consideration to point out about this is that we know that hospitalizations and deaths lag an increase in cases. We saw that earlier this year, and we’re seeing it, you know, around the world in places that are experiencing much more significant increases. And so that’s why it’s so important for us to stay focused on the cases, the test positivity, things that are earlier indicators so that we can avert as much of that suffering as possible.”