COVID-19 cases fall in New York

Mike Stucka
Registered Nurse Linda Hixson prepares to give Joe Knight his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Knight, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, is the first outpatient veteran to receive the new Moderna vaccine at the Joint Ambulatory Care Center in Pensacola, Florida.

New York reported 106,969 new cases of coronavirus in the week ending Sunday, down 4.2% in the previous week . Then, 111,695 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 were reported.

New York ranked No. 8 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,523,301 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -11.1% from the week before. Across the country, 9 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Testing has changed around the holidays, making comparisons difficult. Labs and testing sites closed. People traveled or prepared for the holidays instead of getting tested. Some counties and states didn't report data as quickly.

Across New York, cases fell in 44 counties, with the best declines in Monroe, Erie and Suffolk counties.

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The share of New York test results that came back positive was 6.4% in the latest week, compared with 7.4% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 1,658,496 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 1,471,898. Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Lewis, Suffolk and Herkimer ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Kings County, with 12,475 cases; Queens County, with 12,411 cases; and Suffolk County, with 11,982. Weekly case counts rose in 17 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Kings, Bronx and Westchester counties.

In New York, 1,361 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 1,217 people were reported dead.

A total of 1,242,561 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 40,993 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 23,933,368 people have tested positive and 397,574 people have died.