CBS New York: New York Reports Most Single-Day New COVID Cases Since Start Of Pandemic, Slowing Manhattan’s Economic Comeback


December 17, 2021 6:36 PM


New York hit its highest reporting of single-day COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic Friday.


Gov. Kathy Hochul said there were more than 21,000 new infections Thursday and announced 40 new pop-up vaccine sites will open statewide.


Hochul also said she wants the definition of “fully vaccinated” against COVID to include a booster shot.


“We’re working on that. The only reason we have to wait is that it’s going to be a little bit tricky to work out the rules because some people aren’t eligible to have the booster shot yet,” Hochul said.


Health care workers, for example, who were mandated to receive their first dose by the end of September are not yet eligible for boosters.


The governor said she does not see another shutdown in the state’s future, adding the boosters and wearing masks will help fight the variants.


But the surge of positive cases caused Radio City Music Hall to cancel the season’s remaining performances of “The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes” – the latest in a growing number of shutdowns impacting New York City’s economy.


The area around Rockefeller Center and Radio City was still busy with tourists, but not as crowded as it would normally be, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.


Some people were already seated, others were in line outside when they found out.


“They just came to the back of the line, and the were like, ‘It’s canceled.’ And we were like, ‘What?’” said Anna Wilke.


Radio City and several Broadway shows are closed. Some businesses are now delaying a return to office and holiday parties are being canceled.


All week long, there have been lines outside COVID testing sites in the city as this concern over the rising cases comes just a week before Christmas Eve and family gatherings.


“New York City in particular is basically getting a sort of a perfect storm of office workers and tourists just not showing up and all these personal services and restaurants, hotels and such are suffering,” said Jason Bram of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


Vijay Dandapani is president and CEO of the Hotel Association of NYC. He said, last week the city had its best occupancy rate since the pandemic started.


“The occupancy was 81%,” Dandapani said. “This current weekend that’s coming is still OK… We are definitely concerned about offices being empty.”


The Partnership for New York City surveyed major employers at the end of October. Of Manhattan’s one million office workers, 28% were at the workplace on an average weekday with 49% expected by the end of January.


Now those numbers are rolling back.


The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Manhattan’s economy has been hit harder than the outer boroughs. Northern New Jersey and Fairfield County, Connecticut benefitted from that.


“A combination of workers who had been commuting into New York City on a daily basis that are now working from home, and generating spending in that local economy,” said Jaison Abel from The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


Some tourists are still spending money on hotels and going out to eat even though their scheduled shows were canceled.