Crunching the COVID-19 Numbers: High-vaxxed Manhattan becomes hotbed of new cases as BA.2 variant drives infections higher

The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is making the rounds across New York City, driving infection rates particularly higher in Manhattan — where most residents are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ten of the 15 areas of New York City with the highest 7-day positivity rates between March 18-24 are in Manhattan, which has continually led the city in vaccinations, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. More than 95% of all Manhattan residents got at least the first dose, while 82% are fully vaccinated. Close to half of all residents (46%) also got a booster shot, the highest rate in the city.

Of course, being vaccinated against COVID-19 does not guarantee one will avoid infection. It does, however, increase the chances that an infected person experiences only mild symptoms rather than a more severe case that requires hospitalization.

In recent weeks, city health officials have expressed concerns about another COVID-19 outbreak resulting from the spread of the BA.2 subvariant of the highly-contagious Omicron version that rampaged through the Five Boroughs around the holiday season. The subvariant is highly contagious in and of itself, but does not appear to cause more severe illnesses, nor is it vaccine resistant.

Nevertheless, infection rates are climbing across the city thanks to the new subvariant. The city’s 7-day positivity rate, as of March 27, stands at 2.26%, with a weekly average of 906 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Still, the hospitalization and death rates continue to decrease.

The citywide transmission rate is also climbing back up, standing at 90.33 cases per 100,000 residents on March 27. But that higher number is fueled by a very high transmission rate in Manhattan, at 179.16 cases per 100,000; no other borough exceeded the citywide average.

New York City Health Department

Tribeca (ZIP code 10007) had the highest 7-day positivity rate between March 18-24, at 9.49%, with 28 new cases detected during the period. Three other Manhattan areas exceeded 6% positivity during the period, including two areas of the Financial District (10006, 7.03%, 13 new cases/10005, 6.04%, 23 new cases) and Battery Park City (10280, 6.62%, 19 new cases).

Just one neighborhood outside of Manhattan saw 7-day positivity above 6% during the period: Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill/Red Hook, Brooklyn (11231, 6.25%, 86 new cases).

The 15 areas of New York City with the highest 7-day positivity rates between March 18-24, 2022.New York City Health Department

Five Manhattan communities were among the eight New York City neighborhoods with 100 or more new COVID-19 infections between March 18-24. Topping the list was Manhattan Valley/Morningside Heights/Upper West Side (10025), which saw 177 new cases and a 4.4% 7-day positivity rate.

The other Manhattan areas with 100 or more new cases were Lincoln Square (10023, 123 new cases, 4.42% 7-day positivity); Upper West Side (10024, 123 new cases, 5.38% positivity); Kips Bay/Murray Hill/NoMad (10016, 107 new cases, 5.67%); and East Village/Gramercy/Greenwich Village (10003, 106 new cases 5.14%).

The other three areas with more than 100 new cases are in Brooklyn: Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Downtown Brooklyn (11201, 132 new cases, 5.68%); East Williamsburg/Williamsburg (11211, 132 new cases, 3.19%); and Gowanus/Park Slope/Windsor Terrace (11215, 106 new cases, 4.26%).

The 15 New York City areas with the most new COVID-19 cases between March 18-24, 2022.New York City Health Department

On the opposite end of the spectrum, one New York City neighborhood recorded no new COVID-19 cases during the week: Breezy Point, Queens (11697). Five other areas had fewer than five, and one neighborhood was in Manhattan, with a portion of the Financial District (10004) tallying just three cases and a 1.86% positivity rate.

The other areas with less than five cases were City Island and Hunts Point, Bronx (two cases each), and East New York, Brooklyn and Hollis, Queens (four cases each).

With less than 40% of all New Yorkers having received the COVID-19 booster, health officials continue to urge residents to get the additional shot and increase their protection against the virus and its new subvariant. Find where you can get your booster at