A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past posters on a closed shop while coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreads in New York City, the United States, on Oct. 14, 2020.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
Coronavirus infection rates in New York are likely to rise before the end of the year as a number of "fall stressors" such as reopened businesses and schools will help spread the virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned on Wednesday.
New York health officials have responded to a number of coronavirus "cluster zones" that have reported higher rates of positivity, or the overall percentage of tests scored positive, compared to other parts of the state. Each cluster triggers more restrictions on business and social activities depending on the severity of the virus's spread, Cuomo said.
"I think the scale will rise as the fall progresses," said Cuomo. "I think you will see more microclusters in New York. You will see a higher rate in New York. You will see a higher rate nationwide and you will see a higher rate globally." . "
Infectious disease and public health experts including White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned that rising Covid-19 cases could make the nation's response to the pandemic difficult in the fall and winter seasons.
The US is currently reporting around 60,000 new Covid-19 cases every day, up almost 17% from a week ago. This comes from a CNBC analysis of the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which uses a weekly average to offset fluctuations in daily coverage. Only two states – Hawaii and Virginia – reported declines of more than 5% on Tuesday.
A number of fall stressors are contributing to the likely spike in Covid-19 cases in the colder months, the Democratic governor said. Colleges and universities have reopened their sites, state schools have welcomed students back to the classroom, and the general feeling of so-called "Covid fatigue" has resulted in lower compliance rates for recommended public health measures, he said.
"I heard that Covid means fatigue: I'm tired of wearing the mask, I'm tired of social distancing myself. I'm just tired and I don't want to do it anymore," said Cuomo. "To this I said, 'You don't have the luxury of fatigue because the virus isn't tired and you can't take a nap until the fight is over.'"
More people will also congregate indoors, which epidemiologists say is less safe than meeting outdoors, and the upcoming influenza season will make the state's response even more difficult, he said.
"If you can find it good, when it's small, and before it spreads, you can control it," Cuomo said. "I think you will see more microclusters, maybe you will see more serious constraints within microclusters, but I don't foresee that and I hope it doesn't go from microcluster to region."
Also a threat to New York: Travelers from other states in the United States are reporting growing outbreaks, Cuomo said. As of Tuesday, 43 states and territories will meet the criteria for the New York travel advisories and trigger a mandatory two-week quarantine for travelers from these areas.
However, neighboring New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania are not subject to the restrictions because restricting people traveling from these states "is impractical," Cuomo said.