COVID vaccine milestone: 50% of New Yorkers 18+ fully vaccinated


NEW YORK — Half of all New York residents who are 18 and older were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The 50% vaccination milestone means 7,972,909 adults in the Empire State are now protected against severe infection and death from the virus.

Cuomo said 26 new COVID fatalities were reported in the state, bringing the death toll since March 2020 to 42,365.

Nationally, COVID-19 deaths have tumbled to a total average of about 600 per day — the lowest level in 10 months.

The number of lives lost per day has dropped to single digits on average in well over half the states and has hit zero on days. 

The last time deaths were this low was early July, nearly a year ago. COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. topped out in mid-January at an average of more than 3,400 a day, just a month into the biggest vaccination drive in the nation’s history.

Confirmed infections, meanwhile, have fallen to about 38,000 day on average, their lowest mark since mid-September. They have plummeted 85% from a peak of more than a quarter-million cases per day in early January.

In New York, the positivity rate was 1.10%, with 1,830 new cases out of 165,892 tests reported on Tuesday.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, said vaccinations have been crucial even as the nation struggles to reach herd immunity.

“The primary objective is to deny this virus the ability to kill at the rate that it could, and that has been achieved,” he said. “We have, in effect, tamed the virus.”

Nearly 45% of the nation’s adults are fully vaccinated, and over 58% have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Joe Biden’s administration aims to have 70% of American adults vaccinated by July 4.

This week, Pfizer’s vaccine won authorization for use in 12- to 15-year-olds, in a move that could make it easier to reopen the nation’s schools.

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