Covid-19 cases at NYC public schools up 67%

The number of Covid-19 cases reported among New York City public school staff and students went up by 67 per cent in the last week, the city’s Department of Education said.

Since schools reopened on September 8, a total of 305 people — 207 teachers and staff and 98 students — have tested positive for the virus, Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as saying.

There were 183 positive cases a week earlier, with 62 more teachers and staff and another 60 students testing positive since then, said the department.

Due to the virus, half of the students at some schools have opted to study online, rendering many campuses almost empty and eerily quiet, local media reported.

Altogether 124 schools in New York City’s Covid-19 hot zones, including parts of Brooklyn and Queens, were forced to close last week, as the city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and state Governor Andrew Cuomo sought to clamp down on rising infections.

In addition to schools, non-essential businesses in the hotspots had to be shuttered, mass gatherings were prohibited and attendance at houses of worship was limited to a maximum of 25 per cent capacity or 10 people.

Once the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US, New York state has reported more than 480,000 Covid-19 cases, of which New York City accounted for over 255,000.

The death toll in the state stood at 32,896.

As of Tuesday, the US continued as the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 7,803,884 and 214,063, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.