7 On Your Side Investigates: COVID increases in unvaccinated areas

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ByDan Krauth via WABC logo
Friday, July 16, 2021
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A 7 On Your Side Investigation revealed an increase in positive COVID-19 test results in communities with low vaccination rates.

CENTRAL HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- A 7 On Your Side Investigation revealed an increase in positive COVID-19 test results in communities with low vaccination rates.

One of the areas with the highest positivity rates in New York City is a neighborhood in Central Harlem, where the rate is 4.7% and the vaccination rate is below 50%.

New York City Health + Hospitals Harlem is located in the center of the neighborhood.

"It is very concerning," Chief of Medicine Dr. Raji Ayinla said. "The individuals getting these Delta variants are individuals who have not been vaccinated, and it's proof that vaccination actually works."

With the Delta variant on the rise, you'll find more people walking around Harlem outside with their face masks on as an extra precaution.

"For the most part, I do wear it because there's other variants going on," resident Tammi Arnold said. "So I always want to be cautious."

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Doctors say a key factor to keep an eye on is COVID hospitalizations, which have not increased in the New York City area.

However, Dr. Ayinla said the patients they have been treating this week have not been vaccinated.

"We haven't hospitalized anyone who was previously vaccinated," Dr. Ayinla said. "It's frustrating, because the longer we wait to reach heard immunity, the higher the chance of having more and more mutations and having other variants than the Delta variant."

The country is experiencing a similar trend.

"There is a clear message that is coming through, this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

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In Los Angeles County, they're now requiring masks to be worn indoors by everyone. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday, however, that there's no plans for that to happen in our area, except for in schools.

"We do not have a plan to change course at this point," he said. "But we are going to watch the data constantly to see if any adjustments are needed."

ABC data journalist Frank Esposito contributed to this story.


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