What there is to know
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will lift virtually all remaining COVID rules for business and social circles once 70% of adults in New York City receive at least one dose of the vaccine; he says the number is now 69.7%
- People will still need to wear masks and stay 6 feet from others on subways and buses, as state guidelines are explicitly tied to CDC recommendations for various parameters, Cuomo said.
- For weeks, states and cities have ditched virus restrictions and mask warrants, even indoors, but some experts fear areas with far below average vaccination rates could turn into hot spots.
New York could return to “normal life” – or as close as possible in the near future – within 48 hours as New York moves closer to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vaccine milestone to lift remaining restrictions on businesses.
The governor announced exactly one week ago that after 70% of adult New Yorkers received at least one dose of the vaccine, industry-specific guidelines – including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, medical screening and obtaining personal information for tracing – will be optional for retail, food service, office, gym, entertainment and personal care businesses, among others.
Kindergartens to 12-year-olds, public transportation, homeless shelters, large-scale event venues, correctional and health care facilities, and nursing homes will be exempt from this restriction and will need to continue to follow state COVID guidelines.
According to the latest report, 69.7% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the vaccine according to the CDC. The CDC’s report is slightly higher than New York State’s on this measure (67.3%), but the difference may be due to out-of-state counts.
The pace of vaccinations has slowed to an extremely slow decline in recent weeks, especially among adults, who have long been eligible. When Cuomo initially announced the 70% benchmark a week ago, New York was 1.4% away from hitting it. It has reduced just 1.1% of that in the past seven days, although the new eligible group – 12 to 15 year olds – has seen a higher rate of increase in recent times.
Even though fewer adults are newly vaccinated, New York’s major viral measures have plunged to record levels. The state’s sliding positivity rate is 0.42%, the lowest in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins. It has established all-time pandemic lows for the past 16 consecutive days and is in the midst of a 69-day period of decline.
Hospitalizations fell to 630, the lowest total since October 4. The current total marks an 86% drop in just three months and a 93% drop from January’s high. Cuomo says New Yorkers are ready to get back to normal.
“This is why we are reducing restrictions and offering incentives for vaccination across New York State,” said the governor. “Vaccination is the key to our success, and New Yorkers who get vaccinated improve public health and protect their families and friends. We can move forward together towards a bright future, but we need everyone who has not yet received the vaccine to make an appointment or just go to a site today. ”
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In another small step towards normalcy, New York City Parks is reopening 13 recreation centers to existing members starting Monday.
These sites are: Hunts Point in the Bronx, Brownsville in Brooklyn, Greenbelt, Lyons and Faber in Staten Island, Highbridge, Hansborough, Alfred E. Smith, Rec Center 54, Thomas Jefferson and Tony Dapolito in Manhattan and Al Oerter and Lost Battalion Hall in Queens. Two other sites, McCarren in Brooklyn and Ocean Breeze in Staten Island, will reopen on Wednesday, June 23, officials said.
The centers will operate at reduced capacity and masks will be required regardless of vaccination status at this time. Other places where New Yorkers are still required to wear masks, whether vaccinated or not, include inside schools and on subways and buses, among other scenarios deemed to be higher risk.
Many of New York’s COVID restrictions will be lifted once the state hits a 70% vaccination rate, Governor Cuomo said, adding that he expects the state to hit that mark in a little more. of a week. NBC New York’s Phil Lipof reports.
Schools have hardly been breeding grounds for COVID-19, consistently showing significantly lower transmission rates than surrounding neighborhoods. The CDC, however, still recommends masks in these settings, in part because children in half of Kindergarten to 12th grade are not yet eligible for vaccines. New guidelines on this front are not expected for a few weeks, which means the children will remain masked for the remainder of this school year. For New York public schools, it ends June 25.
When asked recently if masks would be required in schools this fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expected to be the case at this particular point. That is likely to change depending on how the CDC guidelines evolve over the next few months, however, and as more children become eligible for vaccination. However, it’s unclear how long it could take before even younger children become eligible.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy expressed similar sentiments to de Blasio regarding masks in schools in the fall. He was the last of three governors of the tri-state to lift his statewide indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated people last month. Murphy made exceptions in some cases, however. Individual schools, for example, can allow students and staff to lose their masks in extreme heat, he said.
The mask rules for day and summer camps in New Jersey and New York this year will be much lighter than in schools. Both governors are following CDC guidelines on this front.
New Jersey ranks fifth (76%) in the country in terms of the percentage of its adult population partially vaccinated, while Connecticut comes fourth (77%), according to data from the New York Times. New York is # 14. In terms of the fully immunized adult population, Connecticut still ranks fourth (68%) in the country, while New Jersey is sixth (64%) and New York comes in at No.12 (61%), data from the Times. shows.
Nationally, 54.1% of American adults are fully vaccinated, while 64.4% have received at least one dose, according to the CDC. The number of new daily cases in the United States has fallen to its lowest level since testing became widely available, while the number of daily deaths is the lowest since the World Health Organization declared COVID a pandemic.