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New York City sees uptick in coronavirus cases among young adults

4 weeks ago 5

NEW YORK — The city has seen a jump in coronavirus infections among young adults as it tries to stave off a new surge in the virus that is hitting new heights in much of the country.

The infection rate has increased especially among New Yorkers in their 20s since mid-June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. There has been a smaller uptick among people in their 30s as well.

While the total number of new infections has fallen dramatically from the height of the outbreak — which has killed more than 23,000 people in the city — officials called the recent uptick among young adults a warning sign that people in that age group must be cautious even as the city gradually reopens its economy.

“We can’t ever ignore a warning sign,” de Blasio said. “Even though we have overall seen a huge reduction in the presence of the coronavirus in the city, we do see one trend that’s worrisome for young adults.”

Since early June, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have returned to work as parts of the economy reopen. Restaurants and bars have welcomed back patrons outdoors, and many people have resumed gathering with friends. Protests against police violence have also swept the city, drawing big crowds.

Among New Yorkers ages 20 to 29, the rate of Covid-19 cases increased from 26.63 for every 100,000 people the first week of June, to 34.64 the week ending June 27. For those in their 30s, there was a small increase from 29.99 to 30.74.

“I understand for so many younger adults, it has been a really difficult time — cooped up, disconnected, away from loved ones ... and I understand that people are just yearning to break out from that,” de Blasio said. “I think many of us can remember when we were in that age range, you feel too often impervious, but everyone is susceptible to this disease. And of course everyone unfortunately could spread it to someone else they love.”

The city plans a digital media campaign encouraging young people to maintain social distancing, and will hold an outreach night at popular outdoor venues.

“We’re going to do everything to reach younger adults to remind them they’re not impervious,” de Blasio said.

The city also issued new guidance urging all New Yorkers to wear masks when indoors in a space where there are other people — even if they are able to stay six feet away from others.

The city has generally encouraged people to don masks whenever they’re in public, but an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes it mandatory only when six feet of social distancing can't be maintained.

The formal new guidance says that masks should be worn in all indoor spaces — where science has increasingly shown a higher risk of disease transmission — such as an office, even if desks are more than six feet apart.

“The face coverings have made a world of difference in fighting back this disease,” de Blasio said.

The potential warning sign came even as New York City marked its first day since March with no deaths from Covid-19, confirmed or probable.

There were no deaths recorded on Saturday, for the first time since March 13. The virus’s total death toll in the city stands at 23,283.

“It’s something that should make us hopeful, but it’s very hard to take a victory lap because we know we have so much more ahead. This disease is far from beaten,” de Blasio said.

The city also announced ten new coronavirus testing sites, but acknowledged its testing effort has been hampered by a spike in the time it takes for results to come back. Many New Yorkers are now waiting a week or more for results, undermining the push to get people into isolation if they test positive. The delays are attributed to national labs overwhelmed by test demand from around the country.

De Blasio called on President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act to force a ramp-up in lab capacity.

“The federal government has to step up now, because it’s now becoming a national crisis,” de Blasio said.

In the latest data, 56 people were admitted to hospitals for symptoms of Covid-19, public hospital ICUs were treating 279 patients, and 2 percent of coronavirus tests came back positive.

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