• World Trade Center and SoHo Apple retail stores are among the recent closures
  • The consumer electronics giant previously shut down stores in Los Angeles and Miami
  • NYC has seen a 'striking increase' in pediatric hospitalizations linked to COVID-19

Apple Inc. has shut down several New York City retail stores amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. The closed stores now offer only pickup online service.

The technology giant has closed its stores at World Trade Center, SoHo, Grand Central, and Fifth Avenue to shoppers, Bloomberg reported. The closures include 16 stores across New York, including locations in Bronx, West 14th Street, Staten Island, and Upper West Side.

Some locations were also closed over the past week across Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Tower Theatre store.

“We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees. We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave,” the company said in a statement.

In recent weeks, the consumer electronics company also closed stores in Miami’s Brickell City Center, a store in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, and one store in Annapolis, Maryland. Last week, Apple also closed stores in The Gardens Mall, Florida; Highland Village, Houston; Summit Mall, Ohio; Lenox Square, Atlanta; Sainte-Catherine, Montreal; and Pheasant Lane, New Hampshire. The company also temporarily shut its Carnegie Library store in Washington, D.C.

The New York State has seen a significant increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. According to the state's Department of Health, there has been a “striking increase” in hospitalizations among children infected with COVID-19, WABC reported.

In New York City, pediatric hospital admissions surged 395% since the week ending Dec. 11, health officials said. Unvaccinated children were among the most affected.

The latest data from the New York City government revealed that the city has logged a total of 17,334 confirmed coronavirus cases. The government data also noted that the trend is “increasing” in cases even as the trend is “decreasing” in deaths linked to the disease.

New York has so far logged a total of 3,214,893 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide, with more than 58,000 deaths, according to the New York Times’ data tracker.

Outside New York, states battling with the surge in COVID-19 cases amid the spread of Omicron variant are finding ways to curb the uptick. Howard University in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that it will push back the start of the Spring 2022 semester to Jan. 18 as part of the efforts to prevent infections among students and university staffers. The university previously announced that “all faculty, staff and students will be required to receive a COVID-19 booster by Monday, January 31, 2022, if you are already eligible for a booster, or within 30 days after becoming eligible.”

The United States has so far recorded a total of 52,280,337 confirmed coronavirus cases and 813,792 deaths linked to the disease, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed.

Epic filed the lawsuit to break Apple's grip on the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly
Epic filed the lawsuit to break Apple's grip on the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly AFP / Nicholas Kamm