NYC Issues Urgent COVID-19 Warning to Those Over 75 People walk through a busy shopping area amid the coronavirus pandemic on January 05, 2021 in New York City. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Wednesday, 06 January 2021 02:30 PM
Increasing growth rates in coronavirus cases and disturbing numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the last 30 days have led New York City health officials to issue a new and heightened warning Wednesday to people age 75 and older, NBC New York reported.
"This message is as urgent as it's ever been," health commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said. "Avoid activities outside of the home except for essential purposes, including medical care and other necessities. Remain vigilant. Don't let the numbers make you numb."
The urgent alert comes as New York state also grapples with the first case of the more contagious British strain and fears that community spread has already occurred.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo stressed on Wednesday the vital need to contain further spread of the British strain, which although apparently no deadlier, is estimated to be at least 50% more contagious.
He warned that the variant could "apparently overtake" the earlier strain in a matter of weeks, and such a rapid spread alone could overburden hospitals.
The governor stressed that the situation at hospitals has become worse over the last six weeks due to more infections from people not adhering to social distancing and other preventative measures.
Data from The New York Times indicates that weekly case averages have increased 37% in New York state over the past 14 days. In New York City, the average case growth percentage is even higher.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized that with the vaccination rollout still in its relative beginning stages, reducing the rate of spread is critically important.