COVID-19

NY Debuts COVID Trackers for Variants, Breakthrough Cases: See Where Things Stand

For the first time since the pandemic started, New York state is making variant and breakthrough infection data readily available to the public

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What to Know

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday revealed new state dashboards making COVID-19 variant and breakthrough infection data readily available to the public for the first time since the pandemic started
  • The variant data report monitors the prevalence of variants identified by the CDC; delta accounts for more than 99% of new positive NY samples tested in the last two-week period of study
  • The COVID breakthrough data report looks at current estimates of cases and hospitalization by vaccine status and vaccine effectiveness

New York state has long tracked COVID-19 variants like delta and breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated people, but for the first time, that information is now easily available to the public, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

As of the latest update, which reviews the period Aug. 29 through Sept. 11, the highly contagious delta variant accounts for 99.4% of all new COVID-19 cases in the Empire State, a marginal increase from the previous two-week period.

That COVID strain, classified as a variant of concern by the CDC because evidence shows it is both more transmissible and more vaccine-resistant than earlier strains of the virus, also accounts for 99% of all new New York City cases and more than 98% of new cases nationally, federal data show.

No other variant of concern -- or even a variant being monitored -- has any significant prevalence in the state of New York at this time.

ny variant data
NY Governor's Office
New York state is making its variant data easily available to the public for the first time.

Delta has been blamed for the latest surge in COVID infections and deaths across America, creating the so-called fourth wave of the pandemic, though its influence appears to be receding. CDC data shows nearly 67% of all U.S. counties are "high transmission" rate areas, but that's down from nearly 94% in just the last 10 days.

The entire state of New York, though, remains in the red, according to the CDC.

Breakthrough infections have increased across the country amid the delta threat, which is partly why federal regulators are weighing immediate booster shot availability for the most vulnerable. The overall numbers, though, remain quite low.

That fact, officials say, is a testament to the overwhelming effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, especially when it comes to protection against severe illness or death.

In New York, more than 78,400 laboratory-confirmed breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated people have been confirmed as of Sept. 20, which is just 0.7% of the fully vaccinated population. Fully vaccinated people have accounted for 5,555 hospitalizations to date, which is just 0.5% of the fully vaccinated population.

Both of those percentages are up a tenth of a point in the last week -- an increase, Hochul acknowledged, but not one to worry about this point given the fractional numbers overall. The breakthrough infection rate did increase as delta soared from under 1% national prevalence to more than 99% over the summer and so did the severe outcome rate among fully vaccinated people, facts affirmed in a recent CDC study, but the declines in vaccine effectiveness have since slowed, data shows.

For example, the week of May 3, fully vaccinated New Yorkers were estimated to have a 91.8% lower chance of becoming a COVID-19 case compared with unvaccinated New Yorkers, according to the state. That measure declined significantly through mid-July, the state says, though didn't provide an estimate.

By the week of August 23, though, fully vaccinated New Yorkers had a 77.3% lower chance of becoming a COVID-19 case compared with unvaccinated New Yorkers.

In terms of breakthrough hospitalizations, fully vaccinated New Yorkers had between an 89.5% and a 95.2% lower chance of being hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated New Yorkers, according to the dashboard.

"Taken together these results demonstrate that vaccines continue to be highly effective at protecting New York residents from infection and hospitalization with COVID-19. Put simply, these outcomes are occurring among vaccinated people, but at levels far lower than among unvaccinated people, because vaccines work," the state's breakthrough infection tracker page reads.

It does also note that no vaccine provides 100% protection against infection, which is why additional protective measures like face masks and social distancing remain the recommendation from both state and federal health officials.


New Daily Cases Over Time by Vaccination Status

New cases with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 among fully vaccinated and unvaccinated adults, and estimated vaccine effectiveness, age 18 years or older


Daily Hospital Admissions Over Time by Vaccination Status

New hospitalizations with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 among fully vaccinated and unvaccinated adults, and estimated vaccine effectiveness, age 18 years or older.


Estimate Vaccine Effectiveness Over Time by Age

Estimated vaccine effectiveness for reducing cases and hospitalizations with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, by age group.



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