New York is finally starting to turn the corner on the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.
The Covid positivity rate and the seven-day case average, which exploded to staggering new highs amid the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant, are now trending downward, Hochul said at a press conference in Albany.
“There will come a time when we can say it’s all over,” Hochul said. “We’re not there yet, but boy, it’s on the horizon and we’ve waited a long time for that.”
Hochul reported 177 new deaths from Covid and 12,207 hospitalizations, while noting that both metrics tend to lag behind the current trajectory of the virus.
“You’ve all done the right thing, and that is why we’ll be at the forefront of the states seeing this long awaited much anticipated decline,” Hochul said, predicting that New York is “turning the corner on the winter surge.”
New York has the highest vaccination rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 73% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated against Covid, and almost 86% have received at least one vaccine dose.
Hochul also announced that the Empire State has secured 64 million Covid tests,15 million of which have already ben distributed.
The omicron variant appears to be less likely than prior Covid variants to cause severe symptoms, but it is significantly more infectious, leading to a major surge in hospitalizations and deaths.
But omicron’s milder symptoms have not led New York’s ICU wards to become as overwhelmed as they were at the beginning of the pandemic.
Hochul also thanked the Biden administration for sending medical teams to New York and five other states that had asked for help with hospital staffing.
FEMA, the agency that sent the additional staff, announced earlier Friday that it would expand its policy to provide funding to states that were using National Guard members to support hospitals under strain.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.