NY COVID latest: Monday, August 16, 2021

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — Find the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state and New York City, including data on positive cases and other indicators, and information from local officials.

Update: New COVID cases, hospitalizations, deaths

  • Test Results Reported – 99,005
  • Total Positive – 3,575
  • Percent Positive – 3.61%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 3.09%
  • Patient Hospitalization – 1,722 (+72)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 217
  • Patients in ICU – 362 (+7)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation – 134 (-4)
  • Total Discharges – 189,188 (+162)
  • New COVID Deaths – 11
  • Total Deaths – 43,259

COVID vaccine latest in New York

  • Total vaccine doses administered – 22,932,286
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours – 32,309
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past seven days – 309,258
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose – 74.7%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series – 68.2%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 77.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 69.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose – 62.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series – 56.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 65.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 58.4%

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio offers pandemic updates

Key to NYC vaccine mandate

  • Since the announcement, other parts of the country have adopted similar policies of requiring proof of vaccination to enter indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.
  • De Blasio will sign an executive order on Monday, Aug. 16, that states the Key to NYC vaccine mandate will go into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
  • Enforcement will start on Sept. 13.
  • “We think it’s going to make a big, big impact,” de Blasio said.
  • “We really want people to take this seriously,” the mayor added.
  • The mayor also reminded residents that it’s illegal to use fake vaccination cards.

COVID booster shots

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi:

  • Late last week, the FDA and CDC recommended individuals with weak immune systems get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose.
  • Right now, the science says that individuals without weak immune systems do not need a booster shot.

New Spike Lee documentary about pandemic in NYC

  • A new HBO Original documentary by Spike Lee, “NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021 1/2,” will be debuted in New York City.
  • The film is a four-part, eight-hour mini series.
  • The first two parts will air this Sunday, Aug. 22, in Rockefeller Park in Lower Manhattan.
  • The final two hours will be shown on Sept. 11.

2020 Census

  • The results of the 2020 census revealed New York City now has the largest population in history at 8.8 million people.

Help for Haiti 

  • New York City will provide relief and resources to Haiti after the devastating earthquake over the weekend that killed more than 1,200 people.
  • Anyone who wants to donate can visit nyc.gov/fund.
  • “We’re going to get resources down there immediately,” de Blasio said.
  • The city will also provide grief and mental health counseling for New Yorkers affected by the tragedy.
  • Mobile mental health centers will be deployed to the city’s Haitian communities.
  • New Yorkers can also call 888-NYC-WELL. The hotline provides support in multiple languages, including Haitian Creole.

COVID vaccinations in NYC

As of Monday, Aug. 16, more than 10.3 million total doses have been administered in New York City.

QnA

Why encourage people with only one vaccine dose to gather for events such as NYC homecoming concerts or indoor dining via Key to NYC Pass?

De Blasio: This was a strategic decision to push vaccinations over anything else … Knowing that the first dose provides protection but also overwhelmingly puts you on the road to getting the second dose. The key is always to move vaccination as much as possible.

What do you have to say to New Yorkers amid the spike in shootings?

  • De Blasio: The key is more gun arrests, more cooperation between the NYPD and the community, and the continued hard work of violence interrupters. All of these pieces have been working. It will not happen overnight, but we will turn this tide.

Will there be a COVID vaccine mandate for New York City teachers?

  • De Blasio: We’re considering all options. We’ll apply any tools we need to. I don’t have an announcement, but stay tuned.

How many City of New York employees have been vaccinated since the city implemented its vaccine or weekly testing mandate?

  • Dr. Chokshi: The first tranche of the mandate was for clinical staff and I do know at least hundreds, likely thousands have been vaccinated since. The next phase goes into effect Monday, Aug. 16, so we expect the effect to drive additional vaccination in the days ahead.
  • De Blasio: For the city as a whole, there was a 30% increase in vaccinations over the past week and a 52% increase over the past two weeks. Last week, for the first time since early June, the city recorded over 100,000 first doses in one week. The increase is the result of a combination of incentives and mandates.

What are the penalties for businesses not complying with the Key to NYC vaccine mandate and for people who use a fake COVID vaccine card?

  • De Blasio: On using a fake vaccine card, that’s actually a serious offense. That could literally result in prison time as much as 7 years. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Don’t even think about falsifying because there are serious consequences. 
  • Our goal is not to penalize businesses. It’s to educate and get everyone clear and make sure they understand the policy. If we get noncompliance after that much of a grace period, well give penalties, but we hopefully won’t have to do that. 
  • My understanding. As of Sept. 13, noncompliance by a business would result in a $1,000 fine for a first offense, $2,000 fine for a second offense and possibly as much as a $5,000 fine for a third offense. It’s an “escalator approach” to fines.
  • Dr. Chokshi: There will be ways for business owners to report fake vaccination cards, including 311 and state attorney general’s office.
  • Dr. Chokshi: Businesses and institutions subject to the Key to NYC vaccine mandate need to post a sign informing patrons of what they can expect. Owners can access that sign online. The city will provide online training to business owners on how to de-escalate situations if a patron refuses to show their proof of vaccination. There is also a website for businesses to help them implement the Key to NYC vaccine mandate.

Who will be charged with enforcing the Key to NYC vaccine mandate?

  • De Blasio: Civilian agencies, such as the Department of Health, will be mobilized to enforce compliance among businesses and cultural institutions. The NYC Sheriff’s Office could also be brought in, if needed. The Sheriff’s office will handle incidents involving fake vaccination cards, since that is a criminal offense.

Why is the Key to NYC vaccine mandate only for indoor space?

  • De Blasio: It was a strategic decision to make it a positive and rewarding thing that vaccinated folks have more options. But at the same time, we left some outdoor options for unvaccinated people. Outdoor spaces are less risky for unvaccinated people. We thought that was a good balance.

What assistance would you like to see from the federal and state government regarding fake COVID vaccine cards?

  • De Blasio: I agree with Sen. Schumer’s call for a federal crackdown on mass production and importation of fake COVID vaccine cards. We need cooperation from federal and state law enforcement. So long as people get the message that enforcement is happening and there are real penalties, that will overwhelmingly discourage people from using a fake COVID vaccine card. As for anyone mass producing fake cards, we need all levels of government to crack down on that. We need that help and support.

NYC indoor vaccine mandate set to begin

New York City’s vaccine mandate, called the Key to NYC Pass, goes into effect Tuesday, Aug. 17. However, it will not be fully enforced until Sept. 13.

While not actually a vaccine passport as the name might imply, the plan is the first of its kind in the United States, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The plan requires vaccinations for all workers and customers at indoor dining, indoor fitness and indoor entertainment venues.

August child tax credit payments issued: Here’s why yours might be delayed

The second installment of expanded child tax credits was issued Friday to millions of eligible families, but some payments will likely be delayed due to a technical glitch, the U.S. Department of Treasury said.

Schumer calls for federal crackdown on fake vaccine cards

The Senate’s top Democrat says federal law enforcement officials need to crack down on fake COVID-19 vaccination cards being sold online.

COVID claims more young victims as deaths climb yet again

The COVID-19 death toll has started soaring again as the delta variant tears through the nation’s unvaccinated population and fills up hospitals with patients, many of whom are younger than during earlier phases of the pandemic.

Concerts, outdoor events still risky as delta variant surges, experts say

Concerts and outdoor events are returning, and many are requiring proof of vaccination as part of new safety protocols designed to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. But while experts say being outdoors is less risky in general, they continue to recommend additional precautions for those visiting crowded outdoor venues.

Biden weighs stiffer vaccine rules as delta variant spreads rapidly across US

When the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. first began to slow, President Joe Biden backed incentives like million-dollar cash lotteries if that’s what it took to get shots in arms. But as new COVID infections soar, he’s testing a tougher approach.

Who doesn’t need the COVID-19 vaccine?

It has been eight months since the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered to health care workers nationwide. Since then, the vaccine has become available to anyone over the age of 12. Experts explain the few instances in which a person would not qualify for, or should delay getting vaccinated.

Extra COVID shot OK’d for those with weak immune systems

The FDA has approved an extra, third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for transplant recipients and others with severely weakened immune systems.

Diocese of Brooklyn announces mask mandate for schools

All students, staff and faculty at Brooklyn and Queens Catholic academies and Parish Schools will be required to wear masks beginning on the first day of class.

Fake COVID vaccine cards worry college officials

With more than 600 colleges and universities now requiring proof of COVID-19 inoculations, an online industry has sprung up offering fake vaccine cards.

COVID vaccines would be required for military under new plan

Members of the U.S. military would be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Sept. 15, under a plan announced by the Pentagon and endorsed by President Joe Biden.

What to do if you lose your COVID-19 vaccine card

Don’t worry if you’ve lost your COVID-19 vaccine card, there are several ways you can get it replaced. No matter where you got your shots, getting a replacement card is possible.

NYC vaccine push for students

Aug. 9 was the last day NYC public school students can get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose in order to be fully vaccinated by first day of school on Sept. 13.

US teachers union president supports COVID vaccine mandate

The head of the American Federation of Teachers union said on Aug. 8 that she supports a vaccine mandate for educators.

“As a matter of personal conscience, I think that we need to be working with our employers — not opposing them on vaccine mandates,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said during an appearance on “Meet the Press” on Aug. 8. “The circumstances have changed. … It weighs really heavily on me that kids under 12 can’t get vaccinated.”

How do you know if you have the delta variant of COVID-19?

So you’ve tested positive for COVID – but which COVID exactly? Is there a way to tell if you have the highly transmissible delta variant? There is a way to tell, but there’s not really a way for you to tell.

COVID breakthrough cases: Is one vaccine better than others?

COVID-19 breakthrough cases are rising, and now people want to know which vaccine offers the best protection from the coronavirus.

NYC hopes to get students vaccinated ahead of new school year

New York City Schools Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter is pushing for students to get vaccinated as the return to school begins in September.

COVID survivors, victims’ families march across Brooklyn Bridge in call for more resources

Survivors of COVID-19, family members of victims, health care workers and others marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Aug. 7. The event was held in honor of the more than 616,000 lives lost to the virus in the United States and to bring more awareness to the issues a growing number of COVID survivors are dealing with.

Are kids more vulnerable to the delta variant of COVID-19?

Hospitals around the United States, especially in the South, are starting to fill back up again as the delta variant tears though the country. With previous waves of infection, we’ve been most worried about the elderly being vulnerable. Now, it’s younger people – even children – starting to show up in hospital beds.

US averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day as delta surges

The United States is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge in yet another bleak reminder of how quickly the delta variant has spread through the country. The U.S. was averaging about 11,000 cases a day in late June. Now the number is 107,143.

50% of U.S. population is fully vaccinated, White House says

The United States reached a vaccination milestone on Aug. 6: 50% of the population, all ages, were fully vaccinated, the White House COVID-19 data director confirmed.

CDC says people who’ve had COVID should get shot or risk reinfection

Even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, especially as the extra-contagious delta variant surges — and a new study shows survivors who ignored that advice were more than twice as likely to get reinfected.

Vaccination will be required for air travel if new legislation passes; lawsuit against vax passes is filed

Federal and local officials are pushing congressional legislation that would require air travelers to show proof of vaccination to board a plane. Meanwhile, those opposed to New York City’s proof of vaccine requirement for indoor restaurants and venues filed their first lawsuit.

New Yorkers warned of dangers of fake COVID vaccination cards

New York Attorney General Letitia James released a consumer alert on Aug. 6 regarding fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. There have been many reports of these cards in the state, which can lead to a list of dangers, according to they attorney general.

De Blasio attempts to further explain how vaccine pass will be enforced

With the city’s vaccination requirement — the most stringent in the country — set to go into effect beginning Aug. 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Aug. 5 continued to try to clarify how it will work.

“A good analogy is restaurants and bars are responsible for carding anyone who might be underage for drinking,” de Blasio said.

Warning of more delta mutations, Fauci urges vaccinations

The White House COVID-19 response team said the delta variant continues to surge across the country. During a briefing on Aug. 5, Dr. Anthony Fauci called on Americans to take precautions to stop the virus from mutating. “The ultimate end game of all this is vaccination,” he said.

Moderna says vaccine 93% effective after 6 months

Moderna said its COVID vaccine has 93% efficacy six months after the second shot, according to a report released on Aug. 5.

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine booster will likely be needed before winter

Drugmaker Moderna says it has seen its COVID-19 vaccine’s antibody levels decline over time and believes people who received two doses of it will need a booster shot before winter to protect against virus variants.

Can I get ‘long COVID’ if I’m infected after getting vaccinated?

It’s unclear, but researchers are studying the chances of long-term symptoms developing in anyone who might get infected after vaccination.

Brooklyn nurse honored for COVID fight gets her own Barbie doll

A New York City nurse who fought COVID, contracted the virus herself and then went right back to battling the pandemic now has a Barbie doll designed to look like her.

NYC COVID vaccine mandate: Who is responsible for enforcement?

Details about the implementation and enforcement of the city’s new vaccination requirement at restaurants, gyms, and theaters are still being worked out. However, one thing is certain: it will not be enforced by the NYPD.

What is the delta plus variant of COVID?

The latest surge in COVID-19 infections is fueled by the highly contagious delta variant first identified in India late last year. Now, a variation of that variant is beginning to generate headlines. Here’s what we know about the COVID sub-strain being called delta plus.

2021 NY International Auto Show canceled due to rise in delta variant

The New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) became a casualty of the fast-spreading coronavirus delta variant. Show organizers said on Aug. 4 that they’ve decided to cancel it this year, a little over two weeks before the scheduled start. 

NYC will require vaccination proof for indoor dining, gyms

New York City will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Aug. 3. It is the first big city in the U.S. to impose such restrictions. The new requirement will be phased in over several weeks in August and September.

Who are the unvaccinated and how are they being reached?

PIX11 News’ Henry Rosoff spent an eye-opening few hours with vaccination outreach workers to learn more about the unvaccinated population.

More ‘pain and suffering’ ahead as COVID cases rise, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Aug. 1 that more “pain and suffering” is on the horizon as COVID-19 cases climb again and officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.

Walmart requiring COVID vaccination, masks for many employees

In a memo, Walmart announced that associates who work in multiple facilities, and associates of its campus office, will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4. Walmart also required associates, including those fully vaccinated, to wear masks in its stores.

COVID cases rising across NY faster than fall 2020 despite vaccinations

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in New York is rising at a faster and steadier pace now than it did last fall, before anyone was vaccinated.

New delta variant research makes strong case for vaccination

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized the delta variant is more dangerous and fast-spreading than first thought. The findings also made clear why efforts to get more people vaccinated are vital.

Bronx teacher goes door-to-door to encourage vaccination

A Bronx teacher is trying to convince people to get vaccinated and send their kids back to school. High school social worker Justin Spiro says he’s on a mission, alongside the teachers’ union, to speak to parents with concerns.

Broadway will require audiences be vaccinated, wear masks

When curtains rise again on Broadway in September, theatergoers will need to mask up and show proof of vaccination.

CDC data shows delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new information on July 30, saying the coronavirus delta variant can spread as easily as chickenpox.

NYC will pay $100 to newly vaccinated

New York City officials announced the city will give $100 debit cards to New Yorkers who get their first COVID shot at a city-run vaccination site.

Bronx 16-year-old gets vaccine to help convince hesitant family

A 16-year-old high schooler in the Bronx said she was vaccinated at school in part to convince her doubtful parents and family that the vaccine is safe.

Cuomo warns of schools becoming superspreaders amid COVID spike

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 28 advised school districts to take action and ensure schools won’t become COVID-19 superspreaders. 

Pfizer: COVID vaccine protective for at least 6 months

The effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine wanes slightly over time but it remains strongly protective for at least six months after the second dose, according to company data released on July 28.

Disney World requires masks indoors regardless of vaccination status

Beginning July 30, Disney World required all visitors ages 2 and older to wear a face covering while indoors as well as in Disney buses, the monorail and the Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status.

NY plans COVID vaccine mandate for state employees, health care workers

New York will require all state employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by Labor Day or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

Additionally, all patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals will be required to get the vaccine. There will be no alternative testing option for these employees.

NY workers should be back in offices by Labor Day

Employers should bring workers back to offices by Labor Day, the governor said on July 29 amid an increase in COVID cases.

CDC mask guidance: Vaccinated people should wear face coverings in public indoor settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on some masking guidelines on July 27, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

NYC homecoming concert lineup announced

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the star-studded lineup of artists performing at the massive Central Park Concert. Performers include Carlos Santa, Patti Smith, Jennifer Hudson and Earth Wind & Fire. Those attending must provide proof of vaccination.

Streamlined NY rent relief application unveiled amid delayed payments

Facing backlash over delayed pandemic rental assistance payments, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a more streamlined online application process for tenants and landlords. The new online application, which will be implemented on July 27, loosens the standards for documentation, including for multi-tenant landlords who need to submit arrears documents. 

Vaccines offered at Summer Rising schools

Starting July 26, select schools in New York City’s Summer Rising summer school program began offering vaccine shots to eligible students, parents and community members.

The free Pfizer shots will be available at 25 Summer Rising sites through Aug. 13 across all five boroughs. Find out when and where here.

US headed in ‘wrong direction’ on COVID-19, Fauci says

The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said on July 25.

Sen. Schumer demands New York release billions in rental assistance

Roughly $2 billion in federal rental assistance remained in the hands of New York State on July 25, as thousands of tenants continued to struggle to make ends meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Chuck Schumer released a letter he sent to the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, demanding the agency “move heaven and earth” to quickly release the Emergency Rental Assistance Program funding.

NYC mask mandate debate heats up as delta variant spurs new COVID cases

Some New York City officials called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to retighten COVID-19 restrictions as the delta variant spurs an uptick in cases in the five boroughs. De Blasio, however, said he would hold off on reinstating an indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the city remain relatively low.

Doctors warn about slightly different symptoms with delta variant of COVID

As concern grows regarding the COVID-19 delta variant, health leaders are warning about somewhat different symptoms that come with it.

Most unvaccinated Americans unlikely to get COVID-19 shots, new AP poll finds

A new poll shows that most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the shots. About 16% say they probably will get the vaccine.

Is asking about someone’s COVID vaccine status a HIPAA violation?

HIPAA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 during a time when medical records were being computerized. It was created to simplify the administration of health insurance and to prevent unauthorized access to peoples’ medical histories.

In fact, HIPAA doesn’t block anyone from asking another person about their health status, according to Alan Meisel, law professor and bioethics expert at the University of Pittsburgh.

DOJ says no probe into state-run nursing homes in NY

The Justice Department says it has decided not to open a civil rights investigation into government-run nursing homes in New York over their COVID-19 response.

NYC public hospitals still awaiting FEMA reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses

The New York City public hospital system said it’s still waiting on a big reimbursement from FEMA for expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NYC Homecoming concerts in each borough

New York’s big Homecoming Week celebration got a little bigger on July 22. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced there will be four daily concerts, one in each outer borough, in the days leading up to the previously announced Central Park concert.

Vaccine or weekly testing mandated for NYC health care workers

New York City will require workers in city-run hospitals and health clinics to either get vaccinated or get tested weekly, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The COVID-19 safety requirement for health workers goes into effect beginning Aug. 2. 

NYC COVID-19 uptick: Nearly 70% of new cases are delta variant

As COVID-19 cases slowly rise in the area, the City Council’s health committee chairman said the delta variant has become the dominant strain of the virus. City Councilmember Mark Levine said the delta variant makes up 69% of new cases in the city — up from 44% the week before.

Child tax credit checks: Will they become permanent?

The parents of an estimated 60 million American children began receiving child tax credit payments from the IRS in mid-July in a move expected to lift millions of families above the poverty baseline for the remainder of 2021. Should they become permanent?

Biden grapples with ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’

President Joe Biden is confronting the worrying reality of rising cases and deaths — and the limitations of his ability to combat the persistent vaccine hesitance responsible for the summer backslide.

Common cholesterol drugs may significantly reduce risk of death from COVID-19: study

Statins, a common medication for lowering cholesterol, may be saving lives among patients with COVID-19. A new study reveals hospitalized coronavirus patients who take statins are much less likely to die from the illness.

De Blasio: No plan to bring back mask mandate if hospitalizations remain low

On the heels of the announcement that Los Angeles County will reinstitute its indoor mask mandate, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked on the “Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC radio if he has plans to make a similar move and bring back mask rules for the city.

NYC not dropping mask mandate for students

New York City students will still have to wear masks in schools next fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in July.

Child tax credit: When to expect payments, how it may impact tax returns

Payments for the highly anticipated expanded child tax credits were being sent to families in the tri-state area, and the rest of the nation, for the first time in mid-July. While the additional money may be very helpful for some families across the economic spectrum, the overall tax credit situation is complicated.

WHO chief says it was ‘premature’ to rule out COVID lab leak

The head of the World Health Organization acknowledged it was premature to rule out a potential link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak, and he said he is asking China to be more transparent as scientists search for the origins of the coronavirus.

Wildfire smoke linked to increased COVID-19 risk, study says

A new study suggests that exposure to wildfire smoke is linked to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

What can I do if I didn’t get my child tax credit payment?

The official disbursement date for the first child tax credit payments from the Internal Revenue Service was July 15, but parents may not see the cash right away.

New York takes conservative approach to counting COVID deaths

The federal government’s count of those who died of COVID-19 in New York has 11,000 more victims than the tally publicized by the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which has stuck with a far more conservative approach to counting virus-related deaths.

NYC COVID hospitalizations likely to grow as delta variant rapidly spreads

The delta variant is fueling new COVID-19 cases in New York City, and health officials are urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi told PIX11 Morning News’ Betty Nguyen that he’s very concerned about the delta variant.

Will a COVID vaccine booster shot be needed? Fauci says it’s too soon to tell

The government’s top infectious disease expert said “it is entirely conceivable, maybe likely” that Americans will need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months, but it is too soon for the government to recommend another shot.

Global COVID-19 deaths hit 4 million amid rush to vaccinate

The global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 4 million as the crisis increasingly becomes a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious delta variant.

99 percent of US COVID deaths are unvaccinated people: Fauci

America’s top infectious disease expert says about 99.2% of recent COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people. And Dr. Anthony Fauci says “it’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable.”

NY chief judge, family got preferential COVID-19 testing at home, official says

New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and some relatives received COVID-19 testing from the state at her private Long Island residence last summer after a member of the family tested positive, a state court official said. 

Why unvaccinated people still have to wear a mask in New York

The State of Emergency in New York may have ended but the state Department of Health remains cautious about the spread of COVID-19.

The same day the State of Emergency expired, DOH readopted some emergency regulations that would allow the agency and local health departments to react quickly should another spike in COVID cases happen, such as its “Surge and Flex” strategy and requiring masks in public for unvaccinated people.

There’s more to the worker shortage than pandemic unemployment, experts say

The workforce shortage is a combination of several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift in the economy, and changes in the workforce demographics, experts say.

Free health insurance included in stimulus benefits for unemployment recipients

Along with $1,400 stimulus checks and monthly child tax credit payments, the American Rescue Plan has another important benefit available to people who qualified for unemployment assistance this year: free health care.

Essential workers monument to change location, remain in Battery Park City

A monument honoring essential workers’ efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic will change locations after residents in Battery Park City were unhappy with where it was originally going to be built.

Workers enjoy the upper hand as companies scramble to hire

With the economy growing rapidly as it reopens from the pandemic, many employers are increasingly desperate to hire. Yet evidence suggests that as a group, the unemployed aren’t feeling the same urgency to take jobs.

Vaccine freebies

New York, New Jersey and several companies nationwide are offering incentives for those who get vaccinated, including free food, drinks and discounts.

Latest official numbers

As of Monday, there have been 2,192,336 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 2020 and 43,259 fatalities, according to data from the state.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York state coronavirus hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also being posted here

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