New York City ends coronavirus alert system as cases reach high levels

New York City suddenly Color coded coronavirus alert system removed Thursday only Latest Omicron . sub variants fueling another rise in the number of cases and hospitalizations.

Mayor Eric Adams and health officials have quietly brought down the city High level alert system This warned New Yorkers when they were most vulnerable to the virus and should consider taking more precautions.

Now the city’s website reads: “We are reevaluating the city’s Covid alert system. Check back here for updates in the coming weeks.”

Hospitalizations in the city have also risen, from 725 people who were hospitalized with the virus in early June to 877 people now, According to state data.

The rapidly spreading Omicron sub variants known as BA.4 and BA.5 made up about 46 percent of the city’s virus cases as of June 18, and those numbers are rising, According to city data.

BA.4 and BA.5 can evade some antibodies that are produced after coronavirus vaccines and infections, including infections caused by some previous versions of Omicron. But There is not much evidence yet They cause more serious illness.

The city’s health commissioner, Dr Ashwin Vasan, defended his decision to scrap the alert system on Thursday and said the city was “re-evaluating” its approach, though he did not provide details on what the city could do instead.

Fabian Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement on Friday that the city always intends to periodically reassess the alert system as conditions change and that Dr. Vassan proactively mentioned the change at the press conference.

“What we’ve seen recently is a rebound between alert levels, which doesn’t provide clear or useful information for New Yorkers,” said Mr. Levy. “All indicators of Covid-19 continue to be updated on the Ministry of Health website and we will continue to communicate our recommendations clearly.”

Even with the infection of the virus nationwide He thinks it’s uncountableand BA.4 and BA.5 together It has become dominant among the new American casesAccording to new estimates released this week from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4,15.7 percent of the new cases, BA.5 accounted for 36.6 percent, numbers that experts said are likely to rise in the coming weeks.

Federal regulators recently recommended That coronavirus vaccine manufacturers are updating their boosters to target BA.4 and BA.5, despite uncertainty about what form of the virus may be in circulation later this year.

New York City’s Alert Levels website said Friday that the city is facing high transmission levels and that residents should continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces and around outdoor crowds and testing before and after travel or gatherings.

Businesses and private schools have relied on the city’s alert system to make decisions about ordering masks in offices and classrooms. Without guidance from the city about the increased level of risk, organizations will have to monitor the data to make decisions on their own.

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Under the color-coded alert system Mr Adams introduced in March, some health policy measures were recommended at each risk level. On the high-risk level, mayors have been encouraged to require face masks in all public enclosed spaces and to reauthorize the vaccine for restaurants and bars that existed under the last mayor, Bill de Blasio.

When the city Reached high risk level in MayMr. Adams She chose not to reintroduce mask and vaccine mandates. Mr. Adams, a Democrat who took office in January, focused on reopening the city and persuading workers to return to Manhattan, arguing that only a significant increase in hospitalizations would prompt tougher action.

Starting Friday, Broadway theaters will be Allows them to drop their mask authorizationsRecently, Mr. Adams Remove the mask state for young children.

Dr. Jay Varma, an epidemiologist and former chief health advisor to Mr. de Blasio, said Friday that he believes a BA.5-driven wave has begun in the city and that health officials should provide clearer guidance to New Yorkers on how to change their behavior during regular news briefings.

“I am afraid that the removal of the alert system is a sign that the city prefers to wait until there is a significant increase in severe illness and death before considering any further measures,” Dr. Varma said.

Mr. Adams attended this week’s press conference about mobile testing sites offering Paxlovid, and visited a vaccine site for children under five last week where they began receiving shots. But the mayor has not held regular news briefings to update New Yorkers about the virus like Mr. de Blasio did.

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Some other cities still rely on color-coded alert systems to describe Covid levels. Chicago, for example, I entered the “high” level – or orange – Last month based on the rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across Cook County. Los Angeles County Currently on average — or the yellow level, which reflects a lower rate of new Covid hospitalizations than Cook County or New York City.

Color coded systems Based on the parameters set by the CDC Which includes data on both new cases and hospital admissions. In Los Angeles, officials indicated who – which inner masking will be required The county must enter the “high” level..

Joseph Goldstein Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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