Long Island surpassed 1,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 in test results released Thursday, as the delta variant continued to spread.
Nassau County registered 480 cases in test results from Wednesday, while Suffolk County logged 595 cases, for a total of 1,075. The region has surpassed 900 new daily cases several times in recent days, underscoring the tenacity of the virus a year and a half after it started infecting large numbers of people here.
New York City registered 1,991 new daily cases in test results from Wednesday.
Across the state, 34 people died on Wednesday of causes related to the virus, including one in Nassau and two in Suffolk. As recently as June, the statewide daily death count from the virus was in single digits.
Medical experts said case numbers continue to surge on Long Island because of the highly contagious delta variant, the loosening of many antivirus mandates such as mask wearing and social distancing, and the large number of people who refuse to get vaccinated.
One medical expert said the case numbers are not surprising, and that Long Island can expect to see the same for at least a couple more months — with the main solution being more people getting vaccinated.
"This is exactly what we expected," said Dr. David Battinelli, vice president and chief medical officer of Northwell Health. The region is likely to see a "steady state of not escalating, not going down, but just kind of holding right where we are."
He said the pandemic is likely to last for years and the disease — like measles and other epidemics — may never totally go away.
When everybody is either infected, vaccinated or both, "that’s the only time it goes away," he said.
Meanwhile, the danger is that until that happens, other variants will develop in other parts of the world, and they may be resistant to the vaccines, he said.
Much of the "rest of the world is miles behind us, 10 years behind us" in getting people vaccinated and the virus under control, Battinelli said. "It’s debatable whether this will ever go away. No other pandemic has ever gone away."
Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday that one area she wants to attack is young people ages 12 to 17 who are eligible for the vaccine but have not gotten it.
"New York State is taking decisive action to keep children and their parents safe with new comprehensive masking requirements, but that's not enough to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. We need to increase the vaccination rate," she said in a statement.
"We're putting more energy and effort into addressing the 12- to 17-year-old population, and we continue to make the vaccine available at sites across the state. Get vaccinated today and protect your friends, family and community from COVID-19."
Hochul on Wednesday pointed to Long Island as one of several areas of concern around the state as the delta variant causes a surge in infections and deaths. She also ordered new mandates for mask wearing at state-regulated child care facilities, residential congregate programs and other locations.
Long Island’s seven-day average for positivity in tests for COVID-19 remained above 4% in results from Wednesday, registering 4.06%, though that was a slight decrease from the previous two days.
New York State’s seven-day average was 3.16%.
The number of people hospitalized in the state because of the virus dropped by 50 on Wednesday, to 2,374, according to state data.
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