New COVID-19 cases plummet in New York

Mike Stucka

New York reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 51,802 new cases. That's down 13.2% from the previous week's toll of 59,646 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New York ranked third 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 489,902 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of 23% from the week before. Across the country, six states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across New York, cases fell in 52 counties, with the best declines in Nassau, Suffolk and Bronx counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of New York test results that came back positive was 3.4% in the latest week, compared with 3.8% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 1,424,640 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 1,538,485. 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 Bronx, Queens and Richmond counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Kings County, with 8,528 cases; Queens County, with 8,383 cases; and Bronx County, with 5,857. Weekly case counts rose in nine counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Broome, Franklin and Genesee counties.

In New York, 928 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 1,045 people were reported dead.

A total of 1,591,672 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 46,812 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 28,134,115 people have tested positive and 498,897 people have died.

The Rev. Daniel Belken sprinkles ashes on top of a parishioner's head during the Ash Wednesday Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. This year ashes were sprinkled on top of the head as a precaution against spreading COVID-19.