COVID-19 moving toward endemic in New York City, health officials say

Health officials in New York City say high vaccination rates and some immunity from prior infections have made COVID-19 more manageable, and they anticipate the virus will soon enter an endemic-level phase, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 26. 

During the spring and winter COVID-19 surges in 2020, space in the intensive care unit and oxygen supplies were sparse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, part of New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health. In the summer and fall of 2021 — the height of the most recent delta variant-fueled surge — COVID-19 patients did not require as much intensive care. Overall, the number of confirmed cases reported at the peak of the delta surge was about one-third of the peak of confirmed cases last winter, according to CDC data cited by the Wall Street Journal. 

"We’re seeing it more as a chronic problem than as an immediate, huge pandemic problem like we were before," Mangala Narasimhan, DO, a critical-care pulmonologist and director of critical-care services at Northwell, told the news outlet. 

Some epidemiologists and physicians anticipate the city's high vaccination rates and potential immunity from infections during previous waves will make it the first region in the U.S. to transition into an endemic phase, meaning the virus is circulating at a more manageable level relative to a pandemic. 

In New York, nearly 74 percent of those eligible had received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Oct. 25. The Wall Street Journal also cited a CDC survey of blood donors that found that as of August, about 28 percent of people ages 16 and older in the state's southeastern region and northern New Jersey had detectable COVID-19 antibody levels — higher than the national rate of 22 percent. The higher antibody detection rate is likely because the region was battered by the coronavirus during the earliest stages of the pandemic, health officials said.


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