NYU sees slight rise in COVID cases as winter approaches

In the week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, an increase in New York City’s new reported COVID-19 cases has some students concerned about breakthrough infections.

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Ryan Walker

In early November, New York City’s COVID-19 positive test rate was 2.06% while NYU’s was 0.76%. A decrease in hospitalizations and deaths accompany the increase in the positive test rate. (Staff Photo by Ryan Walker)

By Gabriel Hawthorne, Staff Writer

NYU reported a slim increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on campus as positivity rates increased in New York City over the past four weeks. 

In the most recent testing cycle from Nov. 8-14, the university reported a positivity rate of 0.76% — lower than the 2.06% rate reported for the entire city over the past 28 days. NYU’s positivity rate has increased by 0.60 percentage points since Oct. 18. There were 18 confirmed cases found from a sample of 2,369 tests. Off-campus testing brought the total number to 59 cases. 

Throughout New York City, hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing, but the total number of cases is increasing. The borough of Manhattan saw more than 112 positive cases per 100,000 people this past week — an increase of nearly 50 weekly average cases per 100,000 people since Nov. 1.

“Although hospitalizations remain low right now, we are seeing an uptick in cases in recent days,” New York City health commissioner Dave Chokshi said at a recent press conference. “We have anticipated that this might occur as the weather gets cooler and people spend more time indoors. But compared to this time last year, we have many more tools to fight COVID-19 and work to keep a winter wave at bay.”

The CVS on Astor Place is one of many pharmacies offering COVID-19 booster shots to increase the efficacy of the vaccine. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Among those tools are COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. As of Nov. 14, adults in the city who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago can receive a booster shot.

Students are choosing to approach indoor gatherings with more caution as the weather gets colder. Tisch first-year Elena McGuigan plans to follow guidelines as cases increase. Meanwhile, LS sophomore Renee Ruiz said she is concerned about the spread of COVID-19 during Thanksgiving break. As the holiday season approaches, the New York City Health Department recommends that only fully vaccinated people travel outside of the city.

“I’m a little bit scared, and it makes me want to follow safe practices like wearing my mask and not eating in areas where I’m surrounded by other people,” Ruiz said.

A version of this article appeared in the Nov. 22, 2021, e-print edition. Contact Gabriel Hawthorne at [email protected]