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New York state ‘turns the corner’ on COVID as infections and hospitalizations begin to drop

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said the state is “turning the corner” in the fight against the coronavirus, with the number of people still in hospital beginning to decline.

The Omicron peak appears to be finally easing, with the number of people still in hospital falling over the past three days, currently at 12,207.

The peak in the number of cases now also appears to be falling with 49,027 new infections on Thursday. A week earlier, they were at a record high of 90,000.

At its peak, the percentage of people who tested positive for the virus on January 3 was 23.17 percent. Since then, it has fallen to 16.3 percent.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul says state is 'turning the corner' on ommicron-fueled winter wave as COVID cases, hospitalizations and state's positivity rate plummet for the first time in weeks

New York Governor Kathy Hochul says state is ‘turning the corner’ on ommicron-fueled winter wave as COVID cases, hospitalizations and state’s positivity rate plummet for the first time in weeks

Governor Hochul praised the drop in the state's seven-day average of new cases, which peaked above 90,000 last week and fell below 50,000 on Friday.

Governor Hochul praised the drop in the state’s seven-day average of new cases, which peaked above 90,000 last week and fell below 50,000 on Friday.

People walk past a COVID-19 test board during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City's Manhattan borough

People walk past a COVID-19 test board during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City’s Manhattan borough

“You heard it here first around the corner. I’ve been waiting to say it: around a corner,” Hochul said during a briefing at the University of Albany’s RNA Institute.

“Our highest point was a week ago. Highest to lowest in a week so far and that low will continue to fall.”

Nevertheless, Governor Hochul warned ‘this is no time to nail football, despite the… long-awaited, long-awaited decline in hospitalizations and infections in New York State.

“We still need to remain vigilant,” she said at a news conference in the state’s capital, Albany.

The number of people in hospital and the percentage of those who test positive are falling

The number of people in hospital and the percentage of those who test positive are falling

Let’s continue to use the tools we know will help stop the spread and protect ourselves: get the vaccine, get the booster, wear a mask and stay home if you feel sick.

“There will come a time when it will all be over. We’re not there yet. But boy, it’s on the horizon, and we’ve been waiting for that for a long time.’

195 deaths were recorded on Thursday, slightly more than 177 on Wednesday.

More than 62,800 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Hocul said the death rate in the state would come down quickly as it typically lags behind the number of infections and hospitalizations.

Hochul stressed that she was eager to abolish the mandate for indoor masks when it became clear that the Omicron variant no longer posed a threat.

She also described the mask mandate as a “short-term necessity,” noting that she “wanted to make people feel liberated as soon as possible.”

“I have no knowledge at this time of what will happen on February 1, referring to the current mandate for inner masks,” Governor Hochul said. ‘We’re going to monitor the situation and make sure there isn’t a trend that changes things quickly.’

The state has secured an additional 64 million COVID tests that will be distributed to schools, nursing homes and other locations.

Since the variant was discovered in November, data from WHO shows it has spread rapidly, appearing in at least 128 countries. COVID-related lockdowns and mandates.

But as the number of cases has risen to unprecedented levels, hospitalizations and death rates in the US have seen no such rise.

“What we’re seeing now is… the disconnect between the fallen and the dead,” the WHO head said.

The lower death toll continues to raise hopes that the Omicron peak, and its associated shutdowns and interruptions, will end soon.  Above, a New York City teacher gathers earlier this week for heightened COVID safety measures in schools

The lower death toll continues to raise hopes that the Omicron peak, and its associated shutdowns and interruptions, will end soon. Above, a New York City teacher gathers earlier this week for heightened COVID safety measures in schools

In South Africa, where it was first discovered, the outbreak has peaked and is now declining rapidly.

The record wave started in December, just weeks after the new variant was discovered by South African health officials. Omicron is the most contagious strain of the virus to date, and its ability to evade vaccine immunity has presented additional challenges.

In the past week alone, nearly ten million people worldwide have tested positive for the virus. Some believe that this rampant spread of the virus will cause it to become “endemic” — reaching the stage where the common flu is where it’s always present, but manageable for the most part.

However, World Health Organization officials warn that this may not be the case due to the unpredictable nature of Covid and the constant mutations of the virus.

US health leaders, such as Dr. Walensky and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, have put vaccines at the center of their fight against the virus — even in the wake of a vaccine-resistant strain.

The CDC also plans to soon upgrade its mask recommendation to include only N95 and KN95 masks, which are believed to be the most protective, but also in short supply in some parts of America.

Recently revealed data shows that commonly used cloth masks are not very effective in preventing the spread of the Omicron variant.

While the variant can evade the immunity afforded by the initial vaccine regimens, experts have found that vaccine booster shots can restore some of those protections.

Breakthrough infections are also milder than those in unvaccinated people, and the Omicron variant appears to be a milder strain, with less chance of infection or death than other virus strains.

Due to the emergence of Omicron and the potential for future variants with similar vaccine-resistant properties, some fear that Covid will never be fully ended.

As long as the virus continues to mutate, it will always be able to find vaccines with the protection people get from the shots that seem to wear off in a few months.

Health officials have said New York's high vaccination rates have helped those who did get sick from having to be treated in intensive care.  Pictured, a person waiting for a test in Boston

Health officials have said New York’s high vaccination rates have helped those who did get sick from having to be treated in intensive care. Pictured, a person waiting for a test in Boston

Some experts are hopeful that the high infectivity of the variant, coupled with Omicron’s relatively mild symptoms, could mean the pandemic is coming to an end soon. dr. Jim Baker, an immunologist at the University of Michigan, wrote in a blog that the virus is showing signs similar to the 2011 flu pandemic that it will burn out quickly.

“We are focused on the number of infections with COVID-19 because of the highly sensitive and accurate diagnostic tests (PCR) we have developed” he said.

“In contrast, if we look at the end of the pandemic, we should now focus less on infections and more on deaths. That is really the important indicator of the impact of a pandemic and the only measure comparable to the influenza epidemic of 1918 where there were no diagnostic tests.’

“In the 1917 flu pandemic, after the initial outbreak of infections and deaths, there were two waves of deaths, each with less impact. This is how pandemics end; two ‘echo’ waves, each of which is less and less significant. It is because in each wave the most susceptible individuals have been killed while the rest of the population develops immunity. A similar pattern was seen with the 2011 flu pandemic and has now surfaced with COVID-19. This pattern shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is burning out.”

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