“Almost all” Christmas time COVID-19 patients in New York City were infected with the Omicron variant, according to the city’s Department of Health.
An analysis of city data for the week ending Dec. 25 showed that the highly transferable variant was present in 90 percent of the samples collected in the five neighborhoods, officials said Thursday.
Omicron spread about four times faster than the Delta variant and was the dominant strain in the city just five weeks after it was discovered, the health ministry found.
There was encouraging news about the severity of the strain: Omicron patients were less than half as likely to require hospitalization as Delta patients, and fully vaccinated patients were eight times less likely to be admitted with the latest variant.
But there were a higher number of Omicron patients at the hospital during the holiday because the city’s caseload rose to record highs, the department noted.
The unvaccinated, people over 75 and black New Yorkers were most likely hospitalized with Omicron, officials said – as they explained that “long-term structural racism” was to blame for the racial differences.
Children who had not received a COVID-19 shot were also “significantly” more likely to require medical attention than their inoculated peers, the report said.
The seven-day average of cases in New York City was down by 28,507 cases a day recorded this week, down from over 42,000 in the first days of the new year, data showed.
There were 626 COVID-19 admissions a day and 75 deaths in the city, according to the latest data.