What there is to know
- Despite all the talk about a new New York shutdown in recent weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to say that tough new restrictions are not inevitable; NYers just have to cross another stretch
- These upcoming year-end vacations will be the longest time for socializing, he says; if New York can avoid a significant travel or rally-related spike, it’s just a ‘us vs. the vaccine sprint’
- Meanwhile, a new variant of COVID identified in the UK has officials concerned; although there is no evidence that it is more deadly, data shows that it is 50% more transmissible and can infect children more easily
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted Santa Claus permission to travel to New York amid the pandemic this Christmas, but no one else is off the hook – as he again warned against vacation travel to avoid a increase in COVID-19 cases.
Thanksgiving was the state’s first test, Cuomo said on Monday, acknowledging that one had the hiccups but was not as much of a local failure as in other states. This next period of end-of-year vacation could be the final test to avoid a PAUSE-type shutdown similar to the one it imposed last spring.
Getting through this latter part of the holiday season means there will be no more holiday-related socialization between New York City and a larger-scale vaccine distribution, he says. New Yorkers of course saw a Thanksgiving-related spike, but it wasn’t as deep as those in other states. Cuomo says it’s due to the trip.
NBC New York’s Ray Villeda reports.
“It seems there were more rallies, more air travel to other parts of the country, and where there was more air travel and more gatherings, there was more of a peak in terms of Thanksgiving Day, which suggests all the remonstrance about “Celebrate but safely celebrate, if you don’t have to travel don’t travel,” actually had an effect here in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut ” , Cuomo said.
“Christmas is a longer holiday period, right? Thanksgiving, one day, two days. Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah season, New Year’s season, it’s a long time, ”he added. “But, if we stay smart, a spike is not inevitable. We’re going through the holiday season, so it’s just a sprint, us against the vaccine. ”
Three major airlines have agreed to test travelers from the UK before boarding daily flights to New York. NBC New York’s Andrew Siff reports.
Cuomo’s latest holiday warnings come as the UK faces a wave of a new COVID-19 variant that appears to be much more transmissible. This prompted Boris Johnson to once again lock down his country and a barrage of nations to implement new travel restrictions in England just days before the year-end break.
Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio would like to see federal action to this end in New York. Unless that happens, the governor has asked three major airlines that carry thousands of passengers between the UK and New York daily to agree to ensure travelers provide a negative COVID test before leaving for the United Kingdom. Empire State.
Cuomo made the request to British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic. British Airways initially agreed, pledging to launch the new test requirement on Tuesday. The other two airlines signed up shortly after Cuomo’s press conference on Monday in which he praised British Airways for its help and said he hoped the other two would, too.
Virgin Atlantic said in a statement that the new test procedure for flights to New York would begin on Christmas Eve. The airline said it would require all passengers to show a negative LAMP or PCR test performed up to 72 hours before departure. Tests carried out on site at the airport would also be eligible.
“The point is bigger than just New York. We were worried about a mutation in the virus, that’s what everyone worries about, ”Cuomo said later Monday on CNN. “The” second wave “was a mutated virus that created a more evil second viral infection. ”
Air travel to the United States has certainly seen a rise in vacations in recent weeks. TSA data shows the agency reviewed more than one million flyers each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is the first time since March with three consecutive days of projections of more than a million. More than a million people have been screened three times in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, but not on consecutive days, TSA data shows.
To date, the World Health Organization says the British variant has been identified in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia. It has not yet been detected in New York City, according to New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. That said, New Yorkers know only too well that just because there isn’t official confirmation yet that doesn’t mean it’s not here – and that it’s spreading. in a frenzied manner.
Cuomo says he “intuitively” believes this variant is already in New York City. This is what happened in the spring and it is almost a given, considering the number of people who live in the city and pass through it every day for a multitude of reasons.
New York’s chief medical adviser Dr. Jay Varma agrees. He also said on Monday that he believed that there was little anyone could do to prevent him from entering.
“Restricting travel can be a very important way to slow the growth of new infections,” Varma said. “I think it is unlikely that we can prevent this variety from entering the United States”
Daily percentage of positive tests by New York region
Governor Andrew Cuomo divides the state into 10 regions for testing and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hot spots. Here is the latest monitoring data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-wide statewide results, click here
Little is known about the new British strain. British scientists have said the new strain is 50% more contagious and that there are signs that it can infect children more easily, although it is still very early in the observation process. Experts have pointed out that while the new strain is not more deadly, it is inevitable that more infections will lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.
The WHO also said on Monday that the coronavirus mutates “at a much slower rate” than the seasonal flu, which mutates so frequently that scientists must regularly develop new vaccines to effectively inoculate people each year.
COVID vaccines should protect against new strains of COVID-19, at least one doctor says. Existing vaccines will be able to fight infection with new variants, as emerging strains are likely to be genetically similar to previous ones, Vin Gupta of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation told CNBC.
New York City currently vaccinates at twice the national rate, says de Blasio, administering 42.2% of the doses it received on Sunday.
Now, according to the mayor, “what we’re going to do every day is educate New Yorkers about the importance of the vaccine.”
De Blasio on Tuesday announced a new public information campaign – NYC Vaccine for All – to raise awareness that vaccines are free, safe and “for everyone.”
“Safe, free, easy. These are the messages we need to get out, ”he added.
The race for large-scale vaccination could not be more urgent. It is the deadliest year in US history, with deaths set to exceed 3 million for the first time – mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country has recorded more than 319,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic and exceeded more than 18 million cases, according to data from NBC News. Both tolls are probably much higher than those reported.