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Covid surge is gripping New York City ahead of the holidays: ‘We’ve never seen this before’

Groups of people line-up to get tested for Covid-19 in Times Square on December 05, 2021 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Covid-19 test positivity rates in New York City have doubled in just three days, Dr. Jay Varma, a top health advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeted Thursday.

“Um, we’ve never seen this before in #NYC,” he tweeted.

Positivity rates are rising as the omicron variant spreads. According to CDC data released on Wednesday, New York and New Jersey are the two states with the most rapid spread of the variant. The data shows that 13.1% of cases in the CDC region that includes New York and New Jersey are omicron, compared to a national average of 2.9%.

From December 9 to December 12, the percentage of positive tests in the city went up from 3.9% to 7.8%. “This is #SARSCoV2 evading both vaccine & virus induced immunity against infection unlike any variant before,” Varma added.

He noted, though, that about 67,000 PCR tests are administered in New York City per day, which is higher per capita than many other communities or cities across the country. Additionally, the data reported by the city has a lag of about three days, meaning current positivity rates could be higher and previous days’ data may still be adjusted.

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