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Report reveals 2020 COVID wave hit New York earlier than thought; calls for swift action in light of new surge

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  • Staff Report 

The first wave of COVID-19 impacted New York far earlier than initially believed, potentially influencing the state’s approach to current rising infections, according to a report from Albany-based think tank, Empire Center.


The study shows that while the outbreak started in February and peaked in mid-March 2020, officials only became aware of it a month later.

Additionally, the early data indicated that the infection rate at its peak was six times higher than previously determined, mainly due to limited testing availability at the onset of the pandemic.

The report, leveraging recent federal data and death certificates, unveiled that New York City’s spring 2020 outbreak was among the most deadly globally, second only to Mexico City.


In light of these revelations, the report urges city and state leaders to closely examine past missteps and bolster the public health system.

Such findings underscore the importance of early detection and rapid response, the report stressed, emphasizing that earlier public notifications could have curbed the severity of the initial wave. As New York faces potential future COVID-19 waves, concerns linger about the state’s preparedness and response capabilities.