New COVID-19 cases plummet in New York

Mike Stucka

New York reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 93,134 new cases. That's down 12.9% from the previous week's toll of 106,969 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New York ranked No. 5 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 1,190,227 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -22% from the week before. Across the country, 1 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across New York, cases fell in 53 counties, with the best declines in Suffolk, Nassau and Monroe counties.

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The share of New York test results that came back positive was 6% in the latest week, compared with 6.4% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 1,563,514 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 1,658,496. 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, Herkimer and Richmond ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Queens County, with 11,749 cases; Kings County, with 11,736 cases; and Suffolk County, with 9,249. Weekly case counts rose in nine counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Franklin, Broome and Otsego counties.

In New York, 1,332 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 1,361 people were reported dead.

A total of 1,335,695 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 42,325 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 25,127,000 people have tested positive and 419,214 people have died.

ICU nurse Abbey Malone asks a COVID-19 patient to wiggle her toes to assess her recovery before removing her breathing tube at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa, on Dec. 7, 2020.