“Nearly all” Christmastime COVID-19 patients in New York City were infected with the Omicron variant, according to the city Department of Health.
An analysis of city data for the week ending in Dec. 25 found the highly transmissible variant was present in 90 percent of samples collected in the five boroughs, officials said Thursday.
Omicron spread about four times faster than the Delta variant and was the dominant strain in the city just five weeks after it was detected, the health department found.
There was encouraging news about the severity of the strain: Omicron patients were less than half as likely to require hospitalization than Delta patients, and fully vaccinated patients were eight times less likely to be hospitalized with the latest variant, according to the report.
But there were a higher number of Omicron patients in the hospital over the holidays because the city’s caseload was soaring to all-time highs, the department noted.
The unvaccinated, people over 75, and black New Yorkers were most likely to be hospitalized with Omicron, officials said — as they explained that “long-term structural racism” was to blame for the racial disparity.
Children who had not received a COVID-19 shot were also “significantly” more likely to require medical attention than their inoculated peers, the report said.
There were 626 COVID-19 hospitalizations a day and 75 deaths in the city, according to the most recent data.