NYC Health Commissioner Offers Guidance During COVID Surge

Winter coughs, sniffles, sneezes and throat clearings are as common as discarded Christmas trees on the street, but health experts say more people are sick right now due to a recent spike in COVID-19 and other virus cases.

In fact, the increase in sick New Yorkers across the five boroughs has led NYC Health + Hospitals to reinstate a mask mandate for all eleven public hospitals, as well as their health clinics and nursing homes.

But it's not just New York City that's experiencing an increase in respiratory illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said national COVID-19 hospitalizations rose 17% in a week just before Christmas.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, said New Yorkers don't imagine all those sounds of coughing and sneezing.

“Cases of COVID and flu are increasing. The number of cases of RSV has actually peaked and we think it's on its way back, which is good news for adults and children, but what I want to say to New Yorkers is that it's not inevitable that we're all just going to get sick . Vasan told “Mornings On 1” anchors Jamie Stelter and Shannan Ferry on Wednesday.

The city's doctor came up with a list of ways New Yorkers can stay healthy as the winter months descend on the city. The most important of these are vaccinations.

“If you have not yet received your updated COVID-19 vaccination and flu shot, now is a perfect time to do so to get through the rest of the winter safely,” he said.

Also high on Vasan's list is washing hands regularly, wearing masks in crowded environments and staying home if you feel like you are getting sick.

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