Zip code-level data offers a peek into how dangerous new mutations of the coronavirus are keeping the case numbers of New York exceedingly high.
Even though tens of thousands of individuals are being vaccinated daily, the number of new Covid-19 cases keep unwaveringly rising. One probable reason for the same is that new mutations of the virus have replaced the original versions of the virus, according to public health officials. The new variants are responsible for an estimate of over 75 percent of new cases.
The outcomes of a sampling of up to 1,500 sequenced cases are released by the Health Department every week. This gives a citywide preview of which strains of the virus are surging. Up until this week, the city had not mentioned anything about which variants of the virus are more prevalent in which neighborhoods. However, recent Zip code-level data offers a glimpse into the mix of variants spreading in the area.
The data presents itself as a stark reminder that the scenario of the city’s epidemic has transformed over the last few months, and that the original variants of the virus are disappearing rapidly across the city. The newly obtained data helps people to grasp and witness an abstract phenomenon that has now been turned into something slightly more tangible and visually comprehensible.
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The strain of the virus that was first found in New York namely, B.1.526 is circulating more rapidly across the city than any other existing variants. The B.1.1.7 variant, which was first found in the UK, is also responsible for a spike in the number of cases in the city. Presently, the UK variant accounts for nearly 30 percent of new cases in New York city.
The B.1.1.7 variant is unfurling its grips from Poland to Michigan and quickly becoming the new reason for terror across the United States. It is believed to be 60 percent more infectious and also two-thirds more lethal than the previous variants. The variant now has become the prime cause for new cases and is increasingly spreading across much of the United States and Europe.
However, the UK variant is not the most prevalent in New York city. The B.1.526 variant remains the most common form of the virus in the city and has been responsible for nearly 45 percent of cases sequenced from the last week of March.
Many unanswered questions about the B.1.526 variant continue to grapple the people of the city such as whether it causes more severe disease or if it can escape the protection provided by the vaccines.
Health officials have not yet been able to find out which of the two variants- B.1.526 or B.1.1.7 is more infectious.
Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn witnessed the B.1.526 variant being responsible for over 50 percent of cases sequenced between the 16th of March and the 1st of April. In the Bronx, the same variant comprised 61 percent of all the cases.
The B.1.1.7 is witnessed to be active across the tip of Staten Island, a region which has been dealing with tremendously high numbers for months and continues to encounter increasing cases according to Powdersville Post The B.1.1.7 variant caused 40 percent of new cases in Staten Island. In Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Bronx, the B.1.17 variant was responsible for a small share of new cases, ranging from 23 to 29 percent.
This newly obtained data helps health officials to assess the situation better and essentially allow them to shift their attention to necessary pockets of the city so that resources such as testings and vaccinations can be accordingly provided.