NY COVID cases shatter records, rise to nearly 70K

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York shattered yet another record on Wednesday, soaring to a new single-day high of 67,090, representing nearly 20% of the 362,000 tests performed statewide.

The jump represents a shocking 64.5% increase in just a single day.

In New York City, another 21,846 people tested positive for COVID-19.

"As we approach the New Year it is vitally important that we don’t let our guard down in our fight against the pandemic," Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "Let’s make it our collective New Year’s resolution to leave COVID in the past. We have the tools and we know what works – mask up, get vaccinated, get boosted, and exercise caution in large gatherings, especially this weekend."

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Along with the increase in cases, the number of hospitalizations has increased too, reaching a total of 6,767 statewide, a 10% increase over Tuesday and concerningly close to previous 2021 highs of 8,700 hospitalizations in January. 

The news comes as new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. are soaring to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, a surge driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant.

New cases per day have more than doubled over the past two weeks, eclipsing the old mark of 250,000, set in mid-January, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The fast-spreading mutant version of the virus has cast a pall over Christmas and New Year's, forcing communities to scale back or call off their festivities just weeks after it seemed as if Americans were about to enjoy an almost normal holiday season. Thousands of flights have been canceled amid staffing shortages blamed on the virus.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said Wednesday that there is no need to cancel small home gatherings among vaccinated and boosted family and friends.

But "if your plans are to go to a 40- to 50-person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year, I would strongly recommend that this year we not do that," he said.

With the Associated Press.