New York

New York City sees spike in COVID-19 cases as new variant EG.5 becomes dominant strain in the U.S.

NEW YORK — Respiratory virus case numbers are increasing this summer, including a new variant of COVID-19.

Saturday was a typical summer day in Flushing, Queens. Families were out taking walks, feeding ducks at the lake and at the playground with their kids.

“Trying to stay active in the park,” Mariela Sanchez said.

But the fear of COVID is still in the air.

“My parents were sick for a week or so, but they’re doing better now,” Sanchez said.

Doctors say there has been a rise in summer respiratory viruses, including a new variant of COVID — EG.5, which just became dominant in the United States this week.

According to New York City’s Department of Health, 594 people contracted COVID in the last seven days, with the Bronx and Queens as the boroughs with most cases as of Monday. Flushing and Clearview are the neighborhoods seeing a bigger spike.

“It looks like Omicron, but it’s dodging immunity a little bit more. It’s kind of like the new thing that’s going to happen with COVID every single time, which is we’ll see it change a little bit enough just for it to kind of stay relevant,” said Dr. Eric Cioe Pena, vice president of the Center for Global Health of Northwell Health.

But Pena says because many New Yorkers have previous immunity from COVID or have been vaccinated, hospitalizations will remain low.

“We have a lot of I think PTSD from 2020, 2021 that is causing us to react to COVID differently when really it’s about the same as any other respiratory virus. The people that are gonna get very sick from it are gonna get very sick from RSV, are gonna get very sick from influenza,” he said.

He warns there’s another a summer virus to be on the lookout for — hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

“If you’re felling sick with any respiratory virus, avoid people who are immunocompromised or medically fragile,” Pena said.

In the meantime, mom Aisha Ibrahim says she’s not taking any chances; her 6-year old is still recovering after she got COVID two years ago.

“‘Mom, I’m tired.’ Like, even when she runs with her friends a little, ‘Mom, I’m tired,'” Ibrahim said. “Too much crowded. I don’t take them there.”

Doctors say we can expect to see a bigger uptick in COVID in the fall as people attend more indoor gatherings. They say if you’re sick, stay home, and if you have to be out, wear a mask. New York City sees spike in COVID-19 cases as new variant EG.5 becomes dominant strain in the U.S.

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