New York state's COVID-19 cases and percentage of people testing positive have risen some over the past month, although the numbers are nowhere near high as they were several months ago.

What You Need To Know

  • New York's seven-day average COVID-19 positivity rate was 1.41% on Tuesday as a slight uptick in cases has occurred this month 
  • 56% of all New Yorkers have been fully vaccinated
  • The delta variant accounts for 83% of new cases in the country, according to the CDC


On Tuesday, the average positivity rate was 1.4%, up from less than half a percent a month ago. Data from the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows roughly 56% of all New Yorkers have been vaccinated. 

Spectrum News 1 asked infectious disease doctor John Sellick of Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo what his key concerns are when looking at the trends across the state and the country.

"Will we see a return of what we had this past winter or what we had a little bit more than a year ago with our surges?" Sellick said. "Of course. Much of this depends on vaccination rates. So I think in places where have high vaccination rates, we'd love to get where New Hampshire is and get up to 70-plus. That would be great. I think that will make it very unlikely that we would have big surges, but we will continue to see pockets of activity primarily among people who have not been vaccinated."

The CDC says the more infectious delta variant of the virus now accounts for 83% of new cases in the United States. Sellick said it is a worry, but there are some positives to take away.

"If you're completely vaccinated, you have protection against this, especially with the mRNA vaccines," he said. "The problem is for the people who have not been vaccinated. The vast majority of the high caseload states are states with low vaccination rates. It's a real lesson for us. The more people we get vaccinated, the better we're going to be [the] delta [variant] or not."

Some places in other parts of the country are seeing a spike in cases.  In Los Angeles County, they've gone back to mandating masks indoors, whether people are vaccinated or not. Could New York see a return to those types of measures? Sellick says that's unlikely for now.

"There's a real hesitancy to go back to that,” he said. “Especially in the good weather for us, even though it's not been so great the last week or so. And we're just going to have to be open-minded about this. If we start getting a lot of cases then we may back to mask-wearing for everyone, but right now the data are if you're fully vaccinated, you don't need to mask."

Sellick also says experts expected to see a tiny number of so-called breakthrough cases of people who've had the vaccine still contracting the virus. The Associated Press reported this week 8,700 out of 11 million vaccinated people in New York have tested positive for COVID-19.