How the Coronavirus Variants Are Spreading in New York City

New ZIP code data provides a close look at how contagious and deadly variants have kept New York’s case levels alarmingly high.

By Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Otterman and Matthew Bloch

The number of new coronavirus cases in New York City has remained alarmingly, and stubbornly, high for weeks, even as tens of thousands of people are vaccinated daily.

A likely reason is that more contagious variants have displaced the original forms of the virus, public health officials have said, accounting for more than 75 percent of new cases, according to a recent analysis.

Each week, the Health Department releases the results of a sampling of up to 1,500 sequenced cases, providing a citywide snapshot of which variants are on the rise.

Until this week, the city had not said which variants were more common in which neighborhoods. But newly available ZIP code level data provides some insight into the mix of variants circulating in the area.

Mapping the Spread of Variants in New York City

During February and March, two Covid-19 variants — B.1.526 (first detected in New York City) and B.1.1.7 (first detected in the U.K.) — grew to become the dominant forms of the virus in N.Y.C. Two other variants have since gained a foothold in the city: P.1 (first detected in Brazil) and B.1.351 (first detected in South Africa).

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