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New York and Washington See Highest COVID-19 Cases Despite Strict Restrictions, High Vaccinations

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: December 30, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants children 5 to 11 years old vaccinated despite the extremely low death rate from COVID-19 in this age bracket.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants children 5 to 11 years old vaccinated despite the extremely low death rate from COVID-19 in this age bracket. (Image: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

As the Omicron variant spreads throughout the United States, the blue regions of New York and Washington, D.C. have the highest number of cases per capita. Both areas have been imposing harsh COVID-19 restrictions but are still ranking highest in infections.

According to the NYT COVID-19 tracker, Washington, D.C.’s COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days is at 293, far higher than the national average of 81. New York is at the second spot with 191 cases. 

Republican-led Florida only registered 124 cases. Both New York and Washington, D.C. have instituted mask mandates, imposed long lockdowns, and have pushed vaccinations. In contrast, Florida has never instituted a mask mandate. Governor Ron DeSantis even took action to protect workers against vaccine mandates imposed by their employers.

As of Dec. 27, New York’s statewide hospitalizations were at 5,526. That’s a 190-percent increase from Nov. 1 and the highest total since Feb. 23. Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the state health commissioner, is pushing for kids to be vaccinated even though death rates among youth have been extremely low. 

“We need to get child vaccinations up, particularly in the 5-to-11-year-old age group,” Basset told NBC. Pediatric hospitalizations have doubled in the last three weeks, she revealed.

According to New York state data, roughly 88.6 percent of its population aged 18 and above have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among kids, 27 percent have received at least one dose.

New York State now accounts for 45 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the country. On Dec. 26, the United States recorded 181,948 cases; New York alone made up 82,350 of these infections.

New York State Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul also signed into law a measure that will make it a crime to forge COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

“These new laws will help us improve our response to the pandemic now, crack down on fraudulent use of vaccination records, and help us better understand the areas of improvement we need to make to our health care system so we can be even more prepared down the road,” Hochul said in a Dec. 22 statement.

In New York City on Dec. 27, Democrat mayor Bill de Blasio made it mandatory for private sector businesses to force employees to take a vaccine. He called it a “historic day” for the city as it implemented the “strongest vaccine mandate” in the United States. 

“I am 110 percent convinced this was the right thing to do, it remains the right thing to do particularly with the ferocity of omicron,” de Blasio stated. The mayor is also requiring kids as young as five years old to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to take part in activities, such as eating at an indoor restaurant.

In Washington, D.C., Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser reintroduced an indoor mask mandate effective Dec. 21. The mandate will remain in effect until Jan. 31. She is also insisting that all employees, contractors, interns, and grantees of D.C. Government be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, requiring them to take booster shots as well. Eighty-five percent of citizens in Washington, D.C. are vaccinated.