City Sounds Alarm Over Increase in COVID-19 Cases Among Older Adults

New Yorkers 75 years and older are among the leading age groups in terms of percent positivity, which has grown from 5% for the week ending November 28 to nearly 12% for the week ending January 2. The main source of the increase is likely due to household and community transmission.

The City has requested the State to expand vaccine eligibility to include adults 75 years and older

January 6, 2021 — The City today signaled a concerning increase in cases among older New Yorkers. While COVID-19 cases are rising across all age groups citywide, transmission is increasing more quickly among older adults. Older adults are at a very high risk for hospitalization and death related to COVID-19. The City has requested that vaccine eligibility be expanded to include adults 75 years and older.

“While we turn our focus to vaccinating as many New Yorkers as possible, we must do all we can to protect our fellow residents who are most at-risk through this second wave,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “We need to expand vaccine eligibility, specifically for New Yorkers 75 years of age and older as soon as possible.”

“As we sprint toward the light at the end of the tunnel, the vaccine, we must work harder than ever to keep our city safe through this second wave, and that includes a focus on protecting New Yorkers 75 and older who are at the highest risk from the virus,” said NYC Test & Trace Corps Executive Director Dr. Ted Long. “We continue to expand options for fast and flexible testing, including sending home test kits to New Yorkers 75 and older that are close contacts of people with COVID-19, and providing free resources such as food delivery or a hotel stay provided by the City.”

Over the past 30 days, 6% of cases are among those 75 years and older and approximately 30% of hospitalizations and 58% of deaths are in persons older than 75. Percent positivity is also increasing citywide, particularly among individuals aged 65-74, growing from 5% for the week ending November 28 to over 10% for the week ending January 2. For people older than 75 the percent of tests that are coming back positive has increased from 5% for the week ending November 28 to nearly 12% week for the week ending January 2. These data exclude residents of nursing homes and adult care facilities, therefore, the main source of the increase is likely attributed to household and community transmission.

The list of New Yorkers who are currently eligible for vaccine includes high-risk healthcare workers, staff and residents at long-term care facilities and other front-line staff in patient-facing roles.

The Health Department urges older adults, particularly those with underlying conditions, as well as the people who live with or care for them, to follow the Department’s Stay-At-Home Advisory. The Advisory, which was issued in December, recommends older adults and people with underlying health conditions who are at an increased risk of severe COVID-related illness to limit activities outside the home, except leaving home to travel to work or school, or for essential purposes including medical care, or shopping at a grocery or pharmacy.

In order to help older New Yorkers stay safe, the City is working to ensure that older adults in need of services or food have access to them from their homes.

All New Yorkers should continue to get tested regularly and follow the Core Four: mask up, wash hands, maintain physical distance from others, and stay home if feeling ill. The City offers resources and services for those who cannot safely isolate at home: 212-COVID19.



MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Gallahue / Michael Lanza, (347) 396-4177