COVID cases in New York state are at their highest since April, and the pressure to do something about it is quickly becoming a campaign issue ahead of next year's gubernatorial election.
On average, more than 6,000 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York, rates last seen in the spring. The number of New Yorkers out of every 100,000 population testing positive is up 57% versus two weeks prior.
The percentage of people being tested who test positive is also spiking -- over 4.5% in places like Suffolk, Ulster and Orange counties, and as high as 13% in some central-eastern counties upstate.
Hospitalizations are on the rise again, as are deaths -- just like a year ago, though at a much lower level thanks to vaccinations. As of Sunday, the state said 78% of all New Yorkers ages 18 and up were fully vaccinated, and 66% of all residents when including children.
Gov. Kathy Hochul last week warned that a continued uptick in COVID-19 rates could mean New Yorkers would again face more virus protocols in high-risk communities.
But the governor hasn’t laid out any specific protocols that she could reinstitute, and she hasn’t offered a threshold for how high rates could rise before she’ll act.
Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who’s running for governor, released a statement Saturday calling on Hochul to address the spike.
She pointed out that large swaths of the state — including much of central, western and Northern New York — are seeing higher hospitalization levels than at this point in 2020.
“It is time to act now to save lives,” James stated. “Anything short of bold action is unacceptable.”