This Former COVID Epicenter Is Seeing Cases Rise Again, Officials Warn

This major metropolis had kept their positive test rate below 1 percent for over a month.

As the COVID pandemic has drawn on, different areas of the U.S. have struggled to keep the disease at bay at different times. Now, a summertime drop in new cases nationally has reversed course, with figures increasing in hotspots from coast-to-coast. But one major city that was one of the earliest epicenters of the COVID pandemic is suddenly beginning to see cases rise again despite months of success: New York City. Read on to find out the full extent of the surge, and if you're wondering where the worst coronavirus spikes are, These Are the States Where COVID Cases Are Skyrocketing.

In a press conference on Sept. 28, Mayor Bill DeBlasio reported that the positive test rate in the five boroughs had reached 1.93 percent, jumping from a rate of 1.5 the previous week, The New York Times reported. Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that the sudden spike was mostly limited to just 20 zip codes where the rate had jumped as high as 30 percent, including neighborhoods in Brooklyn and several outlying suburbs within Orange and Rockland counties.

New York City Skyline on the East River with Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.

Cuomo still warned that that "mask compliance is important," urging local officials to continue to crack down on large gatherings and enforce the statewide mask mandate.

"It's vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight COVID-19 as we move into the fall and flu season," Cuomo said. "Wearing masks, socially distancing, and washing hands make a critical difference."

After hitting a peak of around 5,000 new daily cases in April, New York City has come a long way since it was the site of the earliest severe outbreak in the U.S. By Aug. 4, Ashish Jha, MD, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) went so far as to call New York the "wonderful success story" of the pandemic by bringing the positive test rate down to just 1 percent—at one point holding it below 1 percent for longer than a month.

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"This is South Korea-level," Jha wrote at the time, citing the Asian country's successful control of the disease. "And it's awesome."

The news of the recent jump in numbers also comes as New York City plans to partially reopen restaurants for indoor dining for the first time since March, and is aiming to send children back to public schools within a week. Cuomo has previously said that hitting 2 percent positive test results would make him "nervous," and that reaching 3 percent would make him "start to have heart palpitations … the alarm bells go off."

Still, the governor warned citizens to stay vigilant and to continue to follow the rules set in place by his administration. "The virus isn't tired," he said. "It's no time to get tired." And for a positive test rate that dwarfs New York's, discover which Hard-Hit State Has By Far the Worst COVID Outbreak in the Country.

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Zachary Mack
Zachary covers beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He's the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in New York City and is a Certified Cicerone. Read more
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