The negatives for New York as positives jump

Coronavirus Daily

Here's the latest news from the global pandemic.

New York's positives are a big negative

The coronavirus is making a comeback in New York City. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the daily rate of positive tests in the city exceeded 3% for the first time in several months. The threshold was hit as young students returned to elementary school for the first time this year, Bloomberg's Henry Goldman reports. That immediately raised fears about whether the new outbreaks could cause schools to have to shut all over again. 

"We know we can turn this around, but everyone has to be a part of it," de Blasio said at a press briefing.

Bill de Blasio welcomes elementary school students back to the city's public schools for in-person learning on Sept. 29.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The new outbreaks in the city so far have been relatively concentrated, clustered in nine of New York's 146 ZIP codes, according to the mayor. Outside those hot spots, the test positivity rate remains around 1%. The ZIP codes include several Orthodox Jewish communities, which officials have said had resisted mask-wearing. The city has deployed about 350 test-and-trace workers and seven sound trucks blaring safety messages in Yiddish and English, and sent thousands of robocalls to the areas, officials said.

The resurgence of the virus in New York City, the former U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, has been long-feared. As Bloomberg reported last month, city officials have been working with groups at Columbia University and New York University to model case numbers, predict needed hospital resources and advise the city on how to open up workplaces, schools, restaurants and more. 

A long summer lull afforded New York time to prepare new defenses, and while an uptick in infections was viewed by most experts as inevitable as the weather began to cool, the city is unlikely to be as blindsided as it was when Covid-19 first tore through the five boroughs early this year. Still, the costs of a new wave could be imposing: Along with disruptions to school, the local economy is still straining to recover. It can ill afford to lose the ground it has managed to reclaim.—Henry Goldman

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