The percentage of people in New York City who tested positive for the coronavirus doubled over three days last week.
Dr. Jay Varma, the mayor’s senior public health advisor and expert on infectious diseases, sounded the alarm on social media.
“We’ve never seen this before,” he tweeted. “Test positivity doubling in three days.”
The positivity rate last Thursday was 3.9%, grew to 4.2% on Friday, leapt to 6.4% on Saturday, and was nearly double at 7.8% positive on Sunday.
“This is SARSCoV2 evading both vaccine & virus induced immunity *against infection* unlike any variant before,” Varma warned. “That’s only explanation for dramatic jump in positivity.”
The city’s number of infections is on the rise, with the last 7-day average showing 2,899 reported cases a day, more than 1,000 cases higher than the 28-day average, indicating a rapid climb. The new Omicron variant accounts for 1% of the cases as of now, according to NBC 4.
Experts believe the Omicron variant to be more infectious and easily transmissible than previous coronavirus strains, but it may cause milder infections depending on the person’s age, overall health, and vaccination status.
In the U.K. Omicron cases have been doubling roughly ever two days, leading to a 10% increase in hospitalizations across the country, and up nearly 30% in London.