At least one in every 50 Manhattan residents were infected with COVID-19 in the past week, as both the Big Apple and Empire State see some of the highest infection rates since the pandemic began in 2020. 

And as the threat of the highly contagious Omicron variant continues, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised to deliver three million testing kits to New York schools to keep them open. 

New York City is currently midst of a COVID-19 surge with more than 20,200 confirmed cases over the last seven days with 332 newly admitted patients for the virus at city  hospitals, ABC New York reported.   

Statewide, there were 40,780 new cases with a positivity rate of 19.33 percent, according to New York State data. 

The surge is being driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, which is estimated to be behind 92 percent of new infections in the Empire State.

NYC reported 20,200 confirmed cases over the last seven days with 332 newly admitted patients for COVID-19 at hospitals

NYC reported 20,200 confirmed cases over the last seven days with 332 newly admitted patients for COVID-19 at hospitals

NYC reported 20,200 confirmed cases over the last seven days with 332 newly admitted patients for COVID-19 at hospitals

Manhattan leads the NYC surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week

Manhattan leads the NYC surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week

Manhattan leads the NYC surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week

In New York City, Manhattan leads the surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week, according to the latest city data

In New York City, Manhattan leads the surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week, according to the latest city data

In New York City, Manhattan leads the surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week, according to the latest city data

In New York City, Manhattan leads the surge with 2 percent of the borough residents- about 2,012 in every 100,000-infected within the last week, according to the latest city data.

Manhattan positivity rate is slightly above the citywide rate of 1,742 per 100,000. 

But certain sections of Manhattan have even higher rates, with Chelsea and Clinton neighborhoods recording 2,600 cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days, making it possibly the most infected place in the U.S., NBC New York reported.   

Things have gotten so bad Apple shuttered all 16 of its stores in New York due to a staffing shortage,

The tech giant closed down shops in SoHo, the Upper West Side, Chelsea as well as Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx. Long Island shops in Huntington Station and Manhasset were also affected. The stores will still allow customers to order online and allow customers to pick their orders up.

But despite New York once again being America’s COVID epicenter, hospitalizations remain far lower than they were at the height of the first wave in Spring 2020.

Back then, around 26 per cent of all people in New York City who tested positive for COVID were admitted to hospital. Now just 2.1 people per 100,000 end up requiring medical treatment. 

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. is averaging 181,948 Covid cases every day, with that number set to increase in the coming days due to reporting lags during the holiday season. Nearly three out of every four cases, or 73 percent, are of the Omicron variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will double the amount of PCR testing in all public schools for students, teachers and staff

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will double the amount of PCR testing in all public schools for students, teachers and staff

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will double the amount of PCR testing in all public schools for students, teachers and staff

Deaths have slightly risen over the past two weeks, up three percent to 1,328 over the last 14 days, though not nearly at the rate of cases. This could signal that the new strain is more mild than many others – which many officials believe is the case – or it that a surge in deaths caused by the virus is right around the corner.

‘January is going to be a really, really hard month. And people should just brace themselves for a month where lots of people are going to get infected,’ Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told CNN. 

The US is facing a crisis shortage of COVID tests, with President Joe Biden admitting last week that current capacity is ‘clearly not enough’ as he faces criticism that his administration’s plan to send 500 million free tests to the public is too little, too late.

Many Americans spent the holiday weekend waiting in long lines for PCR tests or scouring store shelves in vain for rapid at-home test kits, as the national shortage potentially fueled further transmission.

Although cases continue to rise, city and state officials are doubling down on their efforts to keep students in school during the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will double the amount of PCR testing in all public schools for vaccinated and unvaccinated students and  teachers and staff who return to school on January 3.

If there is a positive case in a classroom, all students in the class will be given at-home testing kits.

If the students are asymptomatic and test negative, they can return to the classroom the day after they test negative.

As a precaution a week after exposure students will also be given a second at-home test.  

Governor Kathy Hochul also announced plans to distribute over 3 million test kits with two test in each kit to 731 school districts in the state.

‘We wanna make sure that these schools stay open,’ Governor Hochul said on Monday. ‘As Dr. Bassett has said, most cases are not being transmitted in schools. Children are wearing their masks, we want more vaccinated and boosted at some point as soon as possible but we understand that it is not a good option to say children are gonna be returning home again.’  

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