During the pandemic, everything slowed down, but according to reports, since New Yorkers didn’t have much to do, they did each other.
By July 2020, rates for sexually transmitted diseases in the five boroughs had returned to pre-pandemic levels, just a month after the state’s original lockdown regulations were lifted and replaced with social distance rules that forced most activities outside.
According to data issued by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Wednesday, the number of recent chlamydia and syphilis cases surpassed the numbers reported in July 2019.
Even with the springtime halt, syphilis infections increased so dramatically in 2020 that the year witnessed more instances than 2019.
HIV and gonorrhea also increased, with levels reaching 2019 levels by July 2020.
The data for the entire year revealed that total chlamydia and gonorrhea case counts decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 — but that study does not include the lockdown months.
Officials couldn’t say when the STD epidemic started or whether the massive drop-off in new cases in the spring of 2020 was due to New Yorkers having less sex or just not testing during the pandemic.
“We know that sexually transmitted infection transmission has continued throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency; however, many New Yorkers did not seek routine testing last year,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi in a statement.
“STIs can cause long-lasting harm and I encourage New Yorkers to speak with their health care providers about sexual health services,” he added.