The Daily Telegraph
Resurgence in New York dashes hopes it had achieved immunity
NEW York is reporting “concerning” signs of a coronavirus resurgence, which would dash hopes that its high rate of immunity would spare it from a second wave.
The city, which had been the epicentre of the US’S Covid-19 outbreak before it was hailed as a model of containment, was one of the few success stories in a country struggling to get the pandemic under control. However, it is now seeing the most dramatic uptick in daily cases since June.
While numbers in southern and western states have been steadily rising, New York’s positive test rate had for months been holding at around 1 per cent.
But as one of America’s longest and strictest lockdowns eases, the infection rate in New York has soared to an average of more than 3 per cent and 6 per cent in the “hotspots”. Bill de Blasio, the city’s mayor, announced on Sunday that he intended to “rewind” the reopening in nine neighbourhoods that had a testing positivity rate of more than 3 per cent over the last seven days.
In those neighbourhoods, the city
will curtail indoor dining and close down schools – both of which only restarted last week – as well all other non-essential businesses.
“Today, unfortunately, is not a day for celebration. It will be difficult for people who have done so much to fight back in this crisis,” Mr de Blasio said. The proposal to close schools was approved yesterday by Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, and will come into effect tomorrow.
Some of the neighbourhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that were hit hardest in March and April are now seeing some of the highest rates of infection, defying some predictions.
Prof William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said last month that pockets of Brooklyn and Queens, which had recorded the world’s highest rate of antibodies, could have achieved “substantial immunity”. However, he said the question of what localised immunity meant for the wider population as a whole is “much more fraught”.
New York City has some of the highest rates of immunity in the world. Citywide, more than 27 per cent of those tested have positive antibody results.