NY COVID latest: Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Coronavirus

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing site in New York’ Times Square on Dec. 13, 2021. More than a year after the vaccine was rolled out, new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, a surge driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

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.

Gov. Hochul gives NY COVID update

Daily Indicators

  • NY positivity rate: 18.61%
    • Tests reported: 261,620
    • Tests positive: 48,686
  • NY COVID-19 hospitalizations: 12,540
  • COVID-19 fatalities in NY: 160
  • Vaccination doses administered: 34,514,106
    • (CDC) % of NYers 18+ with at least one dose: 95%
    • (CDC) % of NYers 18+ fully vaccinated: 83.4%

Broadway extends mask, vaccination policy

The Broadway League announced that the owners and operators of all 41 Broadway theaters have extended their mask and vaccine requirements through at least April 30. Children ages five and older will also be required to be fully vaccinated.

FDA shortens Moderna booster wait time to 5 months

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shortened the amount of time Moderna recipients need to wait to get a booster dose from six months to five months, aligning the timeline with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine. 

The agency announced it amended its emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine to allow adults to get a booster dose a month earlier than previously. 

Officials, including Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, cited the highly transmissible omicron variant as reasoning for the update. 

As omicron causes more breakthrough cases, here’s what you should know

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, meaning some who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19. Those who are fully vaccinated and experience a breakthrough case are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.

NY officials plead COVID vaccinations after pediatric hospitalizations jump 700%

The number of children in New York admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 skyrocketed more than 700% in December, according to state Health Department data released on Jan. 7. Between Dec. 5 and Jan. 1, new pediatric hospital admissions for children 18 and younger increased from 70 to 571, according to the DOH report. In New York City, the increase went from 22 children admitted to 385.

One West Village bar is offering COVID testing

It’s not uncommon for bars to offer special drink combinations, but Henrietta Hudson put a new spin on it. What’s on the menu? How about a nasal swab to go along with your beer?

NY COVID hospitalizations up, but may not be as severe as they seem

There were more than 11,500 hospitalized New Yorkers around the state, as of Jan. 7. However, a closer look at hospital records shows thousands are not there due to severe COVID issues like labored breathing. 

New nursing home visitor rules

In response to the omicron surge of new COVID-19 cases, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced new visitation rules for New York nursing homes on Jan. 7.

In an effort to keep nursing home residents and staff safe, all visitors will be required to use “surgical” type paper masks. Additionally, visitors will be required to show a negative COVID test from within the past 24 hours. Some nursing homes should have rapid tests on hand for visitors to take before entering.

Boosters mandated for NY health care workers

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Jan. 7 that in addition to being vaccinated against COVID-19, all New York health care workers will be required to get a booster shot. There will only be medical exemptions and there will not be a test-out option, the governor said.

CDC shortens Pfizer booster wait time to 5 months

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 3 updated its recommendation for when many people can get the Pfizer COVID booster shot, shortening the interval from six months to five months.

The booster wait times for those who received the Johnson & Johnson (two months) or the Moderna vaccines (six months), have not changed.

Additionally, the CDC recommended that moderately or severely immunocompromised children 5 to 11 years old receive an additional, third dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after their second shot.

NYC school staff shortages a major concern as COVID cases skyrocket

The head of New York City’s teachers union sounded the alarm on Jan. 3 about staffing issues due to sick calls reported across the public school system as COVID-19 cases soar.

NY COVID hospitalizations higher than last winter’s surge

According to Gov. Kathy Hochul, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Jan. 2 was higher than any point during the winter surge of 2020-2021. There were 9,563 people hospitalized with COVID on Jan. 2, compared to the hospitalization peak of 9,273 on Jan. 19, 2021, according to the governor and state data. Jan. 2’s patient count was the highest daily record of COVID hospitalizations in the state since May 4, 2020.

NYC schools welcome students back amid COVID surge

Students across New York City returned to public schools on Jan. 3 after a winter break that saw a record-breaking COVID-19 case numbers.

In New York City, 2 million at-home COVID test kits provided by the state were used to increase testing following the break. Students whose classmates test positive can keep coming to school as long as their at-home tests are negative and they don’t have symptoms.

Mayor Adams signs COVID-related executive orders on first day

Adams’ first order of business was to continue state of emergency orders put in place by former Mayor Bill de Blasio. In the order, Adams cited “the highly transmissible omicron variant” as one of his reasons for extending the orders.

New year brings more canceled flights for air travelers

For air travelers, the new year picked up where the old one left off – with lots of frustration.

By late in the afternoon on Jan. 1 on the East Coast, more than 2,600 U.S. flights and nearly 4,600 worldwide had been canceled, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Yonkers, New Rochelle school districts go remote for one week

Students in two Westchester County school districts started the new year with remote learning due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Hochul shares COVID ‘Winter Surge Plan 2.0’

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Dec. 31, 2021, unveiled her “Winter Surge 2.0” plan. The strategy included an increased push for vaccinations, a new booster shot requirement for CUNY and SUNY students, and an extension of the indoor mask-or-vax mandate for public spaces through Feb. 1.

Adams unveils COVID response plan

Mayor-elect Eric Adams detailed his winter battle plan against the coronavirus on Dec. 30 — two days before taking the reigns of the nation’s most-populated city on Jan. 1. Adams’ administration will keep the current private sector vaccine mandate in place and officials said news regarding a student vaccine mandate would follow.

NYC teachers union president skeptical of COVID testing promises

Following promises of ramped up COVID-19 testing at schools and a new at-home testing program for students, the president of the New York City teachers union on Dec. 28 expressed some skepticism over whether the city will be able to deliver.

NYC to increase COVID testing in schools

Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Mayor-elect Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul on Dec. 28 to announce New York City’s plans to expand COVID testing in city schools.

NYC private sector vaccine mandate takes effect

A new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all New York City private businesses and their employees went into effect Dec. 27 as omicron cases continued to surge across the city.

NYC subway service cuts due to staffing issues

Trains ran less frequently than usual between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30 because of staff shortages tied the COVID surge, according to the MTA.

Disturbing jump in NYC pediatric hospitalizations tied to COVID surge

The New York State Department of Health on Dec. 24 warned of a “striking increase” in new hospital admissions for children with COVID-19. For the week ending Dec. 19, none of the children between the ages of 5 and 11 who were admitted to the hospital with COVID were fully vaccinated. During the same week, a quarter of the 12- to 17-year-olds who were admitted were fully vaccinated, according to DOH.

NY hits record 44,400 COVID cases in 24-hour period

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul defended her response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Dec. 24, insisting that the state acted early and did all it could against the omicron variant’s rapid spread. The state Health Department reported a record-high 44,431 new COVID-19 cases recorded in a 24-hour period, as officials continued to scramble to respond to a boom in demand for testing.

New Yorkers spend Christmas Eve waiting in line for COVID test kits

Many New York City residents spent at least part of their Christmas Eve standing in long lines for free COVID-19 test kits, videos show. The COVID-19 test kits were distributed by the city as demand outpaced supply amid a surge of new virus infections during the peak of the holiday season.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Midnight Mass at full capacity despite COVID surge

Despite a surge in COVID cases across New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said on Dec. 24, that the Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral would welcome guests at full capacity.

“We let our people know that we trust their judgement,” the cardinal said on the PIX11 Morning News.

Tourism takes a hit as omicron sparks NYC COVID surge

Christmastime is typically the season that drives tourism in New York City, but it turns out that omicron was spreading in some of the most popular spots.

Mayor de Blasio scales back Times Square NYE celebration

The city that never sleeps will ring in the New Year a little more quietly this year amid a surge in COVID cases.

The viewing areas normally hold around 58,000 people, but this year only around 15,000 people will be allowed to attend to allow for social distancing. Guests also won’t be allowed to enter until 3 p.m., which is later than in previous years. They’ll need to bring proof of full vaccination with valid photo identification. Attendees will also be required to wear masks.

NYC increases COVID testing

In addition to the 119 city-run testing sites already open, the federal government opened up three federal sites in Queens. The city also handed out free, at-home COVID testing kits at five sites across the five boroughs. Each site was expected to distribute 2,000 kits. Click here for full list of locations.

Dr. Dave Chokshi staying through March as DOHMH commissioner

Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced on Dec. 22, that Dr. Dave Chokshi would continue to serve as the city’s health commissioner through March 15, 2022. Dr. Ashwin Vasan will then become commissioner and serve as Senior Adviser for Public Health in the interim. 

NYC increases COVID testing sites, with some challenges

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised on Dec. 20, that within 24 hours, the number of COVID-19 testing sites operated by — or in conjunction with — the city government would be significantly increased. That happened on Dec. 21, but the expansion wasn’t without its problems.

Rep. Malliotakis quarantines after positive COVID-19 test

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who is fully vaccinated, received a test after experiencing mild symptoms and a slight fever. Her positive result came amid a surge in cases across the city.

Parents, schools face another reckoning over COVID-19 cases

The quick spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus has stirred another angst-ridden reckoning about whether in-person schooling is worth the risk. Teachers worry about endangering their health by entering crowded schools. Frustrated parents wonder how to keep their children safe and whether campuses could become superspreader sites.

De Blasio says ‘No more shutdowns’ as NYC faces virus spike

The Democratic mayor said on Dec. 21 that New York can’t see schools and businesses closed again like the city did in 2020 when COVID-19 first spread widely. De Blasio has faced questions over the past week about whether he would call for closures as a wave of new cases fueled by the omicron variant broke over the city.

Eric Adams postpones inauguration ceremony in Brooklyn

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams on Dec. 21, postponed his upcoming inauguration ceremony at Kings Theater in Brooklyn as COVID cases spiked across the city.

The indoor ceremony was set to be held on Jan. 1 in conjunction with the inaugurations of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who begins his first full term, and incoming Comptroller Brad Lander.

Biden pledges 500M free COVID-19 tests to counter omicron

With the omicron variant on the rise, President Joe Biden announced 500 million free rapid tests for Americans, increasing support for hospitals under strain from the variant and an emphasis on vaccination and boosting efforts.

NYC charter school mandates COVID vaccine for middle schoolers

The Success Academy public charter school network in New York City issued a COVID vaccine mandate for all middle school students on Dec. 21. Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz said the decision was made to protect the health of students amid an alarming increase in COVID cases across the city as the highly transmissible omicron variant spreads.

NY High School Regents exams canceled for January amid COVID spike

The High School Regents Examination Program has been canceled for January 2022 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, according to State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa.

What we know and don’t know about omicron

The new omicron variant took only a few weeks to live up to dire predictions about how hugely contagious it is but scientists don’t yet know if it causes more severe disease even as the world faces exploding cases just before Christmas.

NY health commissioner tests positive for COVID

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett tested positive for COVID during a surge around New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Dec. 20.

NYC schools close amid COVID outbreaks

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases across New York City, seven public schools shuttered and another 45 were under investigation for possible closure, according to city data on Dec. 20.

Test and Trace chief on long lines at testing sites, how to get at-home COVID tests

Test and Trace Corps. Executive Director Dr. Ted Long joined the PIX11 Morning News on Dec. 20 to discuss ways the city plans to alleviate long lines at COVID testing sites, including opening at least eight new city-run locations.

‘This is hell’: Long lines for COVID testing persist in NYC

New Yorkers continued to face long lines and wait times for COVID-19 testing amid an alarming spike in cases across the five boroughs just days before Christmas. The city was left scrambling to open more testing locations while balancing staffing needs at vaccination centers.

Moderna booster raises antibodies against omicron 37-fold

Moderna said recent data on its booster shot showed that a third dose of the COVID vaccine significantly increased antibody levels against the omicron variant. According to the company, the authorized booster dose increased omicron-neutralizing antibodies approximately 37-fold, compared to pre-boost levels.

Positive for COVID-19 and need to isolate? NYC has a free option

New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 and live with others can isolate in hotels, Councilmember Mark Levine reminded the city on Dec. 17, amid a new wave of infections. And the rooms don’t cost a dime for those who choose to use them.

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant out on COVID safety protocols: reports

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, two of the Brooklyn Nets’ biggest stars, were unable to play after being placed into the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocols, according to the team and multiple published reports.

Breakthrough COVID infections may create ‘super immunity’

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University said they’ve found evidence to suggest that breakthrough infections create “super immunity” to the virus that causes COVID-19.

“You can’t get a better immune response than this,” senior author Fikadu Tafesse, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the OHSU School of Medicine, said.

Watch out for these 5 early omicron symptoms, study says

Wondering if you have a cold or the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus? Well, based on the top five symptoms according to one study, it might be hard to tell.

Rockettes cancel annual Christmas Spectacular early

MSG Entertainment said The Christmas Spectacular would forego the rest of its season. The entertainment company noted “increasing challenges from the pandemic” in its announcement.

Unvaccinated Nets star Kyrie Irving to play out-of-state games

Nets star Kyrie Irving, who’s been unavailable since New York imposed vaccine requirements, will return to the team as a part-time player for out-of-state games, according to reports.

Surging COVID-19 cases bring a 2020 feel to the end of 2021

Though the calendar is about to change, Dec. 17, 2021, had a distinctly 2020 feel: NFL games were postponed because of COVID-19 infections. The Rockettes Christmas show was canceled for the season. European governments imposed a spate of restrictions that ground travel to a halt and saw travelers lying low.

NYC COVID positivity rate tripled in last month

With the omicron variant in New York City and the holidays nearing, the seven-day average for COVID cases tripled in the last month, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said on Dec. 16.

He warned the data indicated an “alarming trend” in all five boroughs. Cases were expected to increase in the coming days. Despite the rapid growth in cases, there hasn’t been a major change in hospitalizations or a major change in COVID deaths, officials said.

Everything to know about NYC’s COVID vaccine mandate for private sector workers

On Dec. 15, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined new guidance for workers and employers related to the city’s COVID vaccine mandate for private sector employees. Click here to learn more about the vaccine mandate.

U.S. COVID-19 death toll hits 800,000

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 800,000 on Dec. 14, a once-unimaginable figure seen as doubly tragic, given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after the vaccine became available last spring.

‘Alarming jump’ in COVID cases, hospitalizations in NY: Hochul

An “alarming jump” in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New York since Thanksgiving sparked major concern among health and government officials, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Dec. 14. The average number of cases per 100,000 people in New York surged by 58% since Thanksgiving, Hochul said. The average number of hospitalizations per 100,000 people in New York jumped 70% since Thanksgiving, according to the governor.

Kids now included in NYC vax mandate for restaurants, theaters, gyms

As of Dec. 14, children ages 5 to 11 were included in the city’s Key to NYC vaccine mandate for indoor businesses, dining, entertainment and gyms.

Young kids need to show proof of getting at least one shot of a COVID vaccine in order to eat indoors or enjoy a show with family. Additionally, children 12 and up are required to show proof of full vaccination. Read more here.

Supreme Court won’t block vaccine mandate for NY health workers

The Supreme Court on Dec. 13 refused to halt a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers in New York that does not offer an exemption for religious reasons.

NY new indoor mask mandate goes into effect

new mask mandate announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul applies to both patrons and staff at businesses went into effect on Dec. 15.

New Yorkers do not need to mask up in indoor public spaces that require proof of vaccination to enter. In New York City, that would include all restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues. Individual businesses can implement their own vaccine requirement to avoid requiring masks.

But at those indoor establishments that don’t have vaccine requirements, both staff and patrons must mask up or face a maximum $1,000 fine. Click here to learn more about the mandate.

Downstate NY nurses head to upstate hospitals amid COVID surge

Nurses employed by Long Island-based Northwell Health were dispatched to western New York to help at two hospitals dealing with a surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Dec. 12.

Gov. Hochul announces new indoor mask or vax policy

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced stricter COVID policies on Dec. 10, including a mask requirement for all indoor businesses and venues unless they already require proof of vaccination to enter.

More omicron cases in NYC

NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said on Dec. 8, there were eight confirmed cases of omicron within the five boroughs and warned that community spread was likely happening.

Pfizer says COVID booster offers protection against omicron

Pfizer said on Dec. 8, that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine may protect against the new omicron variant even though the initial two doses appear significantly less effective.

NY detects 4 more cases of omicron, bringing total to 12

Four more cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus were detected in New York on Dec. 6. That brought the state’s number of cases up to 12. Two of the latest cases were found upstate, in Oneida County, and the other two were in Long Island’s Suffolk County. Of the previous eight cases, one was in Suffolk County and seven in New York City. 

NYC private sector vaccine mandate announced

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for a first-in-the-nation COVID vaccine mandate for private sector employees on MSNB on Dec. 6.

New U.S. travel restrictions go into effect

Beginning Dec. 6, travelers heading to the U.S. were required to show evidence of a negative COVID test within one day of boarding their flight instead of three days prior, regardless of their nationality or vaccination status. See what you need to know here.

Additionally, the government extended its requirement to wear a mask on planes, trains, subways and other public transportation hubs including airports and bus terminals through the winter.

NY hospitals strained under delta COVID surge as more omicron cases identified

The arrival of omicron in New York came as hospitals statewide continued to strain under a surge in coronavirus cases, most traced to the delta variant, along with staffing shortages.

Scientists call omicron variant ‘most mutated’ version of virus

There’s one thing we keep hearing from the scientists who’ve gotten a close look at the omicron version of the virus: It’s really mutated. More mutations don’t necessarily make a virus more dangerous, but viruses evolve over time to increase their chance of survival, which can be bad for humans.

More omicron cases confirmed in New York City: Gov. Hochul

The state Health Department confirmed three new cases of the omicron variant on Dec. 4, bringing the total in New York City to seven. An eighth case was identified in Suffolk County on Long Island.

Vaccination rate climbs for jail staffers, DOC says

After New York City’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for jail staffers went into effect on Nov. 29, the vaccination rate for uniform jail officers rose to 83% — an increase of over 30% from October’s numbers.

Restaurant industry concerned as winter and omicron arrive in NYC

There is still so much unknown about the new COVID-19 variant and how vaccine-resistant it is. But the hospitality industry is watching it closely — the pandemic has been particularly hard for restaurants. 

Health commissioner addresses variant questions, concerns

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi spoke with the PIX11 Morning News about omicron and what New Yorkers can do to protect themselves the most.

Omicron found in New York

Five cases of the omicron COVID variant were identified in New York on Dec. 2, Gov. Kathy Hochul said. Four of the cases were in New York City and one was in Suffolk County.

2nd U.S. omicron case in Minnesota; man recently in NYC

The second known case of the COVID omicron variant in the United States was identified as a Minnesota man who recently traveled to New York City for a convention at the Javits Center, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Thursday, Dec. 2.

Omicron COVID variant identified in California; 1st known U.S. case

The first known case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 was identified in California, the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Dr. Anthony Fauci said the person was a traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22 and tested positive on Nov. 29.

Hundreds of NYC DOC workers face suspension over vaccine mandate

New York City’s troubled jail system is facing the suspension of hundreds of corrections officers for failing to meet a deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The city’s Department of Correction reported 77% of its uniformed staff had gotten at least one vaccine dose as of 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29.

Times Square New Year’s Eve plans still on despite omicron variant threat: mayor

New Year’s Eve revelers will still be welcomed back to Times Square later this month despite the threat of the new omicron COVID variant, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

U.S. panel backs first-of-a-kind COVID-19 pill from Merck

The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-10 that the antiviral drug’s benefits outweigh its risks, including potential birth defects if used during pregnancy.

DOC officers face vaccine mandate deadline amid Rikers crisis

Tuesday marked the deadline for Department of Corrections officers to be vaccinated. As of Monday night, just 74% of uniformed correction officers had gotten at least one shot.

How to pronounce the new COVID-19 variant

Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant of concern designated by the World Health Organization, gets its name from a letter in the Greek alphabet. But unlike the alpha or delta variants before it, omicron might not roll off the tongue so naturally to English speakers.

Masks urged indoors amid omicron concerns: NYC DOH commissioner

While health officials locally and beyond work to learn more about the new omicron COVID variant, New York City’s top doctor on Nov. 29 advised all New Yorkers to mask up whenever they’re indoors in public.

Omicron variant prompts new U.S. travel ban on South Africa, other nations

The United States’ ban on non-citizen travel from South Africa and seven additional African nations began on Monday, Nov. 29, due to omicron, a new COVID-19 variant of concern, White House officials said.

Gov. Hochul mandates booster availability at all NY nursing homes

New York nursing homes will be required to make booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine available to all residents, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Sunday, Nov. 28. The governor’s order comes as officials and health experts around the world monitor the spread of omicron, a new “variant of concern.”

5 things to know about omicron, the new COVID ‘variant of concern’

The announcement of a COVID-19 variant called omicron by scientists in South Africa, where it was first detected, has sent governments and financial markets around the world reeling. Click here to learn more about what experts know about the new “variant of concern.”

Hochul announces state of emergency over new COVID omicron variant

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an executive order aimed at boosting hospital capacity ahead of a potential winter spike in COVID-19 cases.

She announced the new protocol on Friday, Nov. 26, amid warnings about a new and highly transmissible coronavirus variant known as omicron, which has not yet been detected in New York. Hochul’s order allows the state health department to limit non-essential surgeries, if needed, to ensure enough capacity if cases spike.

Omicron not yet detected in NY, Gov. Hochul says

Gov. Kathy Hochul released a statement on Friday, Nov. 26, in response to the World Health Organization’s designation of a new COVID variant of concern. The governor said no cases of B.1.1.529, also known as the omicron variant, have been identified in New York. 

“The Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center Laboratory will continue to actively monitor COVID-19 virus samples selected from throughout New York State to compare sequences and identify circulating and new variants. While we have not yet identified any Omicron cases, we are not surprised that new variants are emerging and may likely end up in New York. We will continue to monitor WHO actions and work with our partners at the CDC to keep a close eye on developments,” the governor said.

What is this new omicron COVID variant in South Africa?

South African scientists have identified a new version of the coronavirus that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has also been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.

COVID hospitalizations on the rise in New York

As we reach the holiday season, New York continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, according to state data released Saturday, Nov. 21. Nearly 6,100 people per day are testing positive for COVID-19. That’s up 22% from roughly 5,000 for the seven days through Nov. 11. It’s also the highest seven-day average since mid-April.

CDC approves expanding COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all adults

The U.S. on Friday, Nov. 19, opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and took the extra step of urging people 50 and older to seek one, aiming to ward off a winter surge as coronavirus cases rise even before millions of Americans travel for the holidays.

Pfizer agrees to let other companies make its COVID-19 pill

Pfizer said it would grant a license for the antiviral pill to the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool, which would let generic drug companies produce the pill for use in 95 countries, making up about 53% of the world’s population.

Getting a COVID vaccine before the holidays? Here are some key dates to know

Time is running out if you plan to be fully vaccinated against COVID by the holidays. Click here for the deadlines to be fully vaccinated before each holiday.

NYC sees uptick in COVID cases amid cold weather

New York City is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases as the region experiences cooler weather, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said Monday, Nov. 15.

COVID booster shot eligibility expands to all NYC adults: health commissioner

New York City has expanded its eligibility criteria for the COVID booster shot to all adults, the city’s health commissioner announced on Monday, Nov. 15.

Health experts warn of holiday COVID-19 cases

“As we gather for the holidays, in the winter, we’re careful with who we gather with and this is a great opportunity to talk with family and chat with co-workers to make sure they’re trying to fit under the umbrella as best as possible, of being vaccinated,” said Dr. Louis Morledge.

According to health experts, the vaccine is the best way to get ahead of COVID and the delta variant.

10 mass vaccine sites now open to kids 5-11

Ten of New York state’s mass vaccination sites will now be able to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5 to 11.

U.S. gives final clearance to COVID vaccine for kids 5 to 11

U.S. health officials on Tuesday, Nov. 2 gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opens a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign to children as young as 5.

The Food and Drug Administration already authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11 — doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines.

New ‘Vax to School’ pop-up sites announced

Gov. Kathy Hochul detailed 14 new pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites aimed at increasing the vaccination rate among school-aged children in New York on Nov. 2. Two of the new pop-up locations are located in Brooklyn: Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on Van Siclen Avenue and Hebron Baptist Church on Fountain Avenue.

NYC vaccine mandate for city workers in effect

New York City’s controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city employees went into effect at midnight on Nov. 1. As city workers rushed to meet the deadline, Mayor Bill de Blasio said 91% have gotten the shot as of Sunday, Oct. 31. That number rose from about 83% on Oct. 29. Overall, vaccination rates among workers impacted by the mandate increased by 14% over 10 days, according to the mayor’s office.

Mayor says 91% of city workface is vaccinated

Thousands of city municipal workers remained unvaccinated Oct. 30, a day after the vaccinate mandate deadline. Those who remain unvaccinated will be put on unpaid leave starting Nov. 1. The mayor said 91% of city-employed workers had gotten the jab.

Thousands of NYPD, FDNY, sanitation workers remain unvaccinated past deadline

Thousands of New York City firefighters, NYPD officers and other city workers remained unvaccinated several hours after the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city employees went into effect, new data released on Saturday Oct. 30, shows.

Vaccinated just as likely to spread delta variant within household as unvaccinated: study

People who have received COVID-19 vaccinations are able to spread the delta variant within their household just as easily as unvaccinated individuals, a new study published on Friday, Oct. 29, shows.

Child tax credit 2022: What we know so far

As inner-party conflict continues to shave off elements of President Joe Biden’s sweeping domestic policy package, there may be good news for parents. While it’s unclear what the ultimate bill will include, Democrats arrived at a framework Thursday, Oct. 28, that included a one-year extension of the expanded child tax credit.

Officials warn mandate may lead to staff shortages

With a vaccine mandate looming for members of the FDNY, officials warned fire companies across the city could lose staff members. An estimated 20% of fire units could close, officials said, and New Yorkers could see around 20% fewer ambulances on the road.

City employees protest vaccine mandate

City employees in New York City took a stand against a vaccine mandate on Oct. 25, marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall in protest of the deadline just days away.

FDA says Pfizer COVID vaccine looks effective for young kids

Federal health regulators said late Friday, Oct. 22, that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues, as the U.S. weighs beginning vaccinations in youngsters.

NYC teachers frustrated by new $500 vaccine incentive for city workers

Many vaccinated city workers expressed frustration over a new $500 incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19. They argued they did the right thing by getting vaccinated earlier and they don’t understand why people who waited get a big payout. American Federation for Teachers President Randi Weingarten said many teachers feel it’s unfair.

De Blasio announces vaccine mandate for all NYC city workers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Oct. 20 announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all municipal workers, including police officers and firefighters.

The city’s previous vaccine requirement only applied to Department of Education staff and health care workers at NYC Health + Hospitals, but the new mandate would mean all city workers would need to get their first shot by Nov. 1.

Between Oct. 20 and Oct. 29, city employees will receive an extra $500 in their paycheck for receiving their first shot at city-run vaccine sites, the mayor said.

Unvaccinated employees will be placed on unpaid leave until they show proof of vaccination to their supervisor.

New NY COVID data tracker includes school cases, nursing home deaths

Want to know how many COVID cases have been reported by your school district or the number of breakthrough cases in your area? A new online portal offering expanded public access to New York’s COVID-19 health and safety data was unveiled by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Where COVID relief funds are being used in New York

Billions in COVID relief dollars are coming to New York, to be distributed to local governments, school districts, small businesses, renters, and landlords. Now, there’s a state-run tracker that shows where all that money is going.

IRS sending October installment of child tax credit after delay in September

Families across the country are starting to receive their October child tax credit. The IRS says the program’s fourth monthly payment is already hitting Americans’ bank accounts after a technical issue last month caused delays for some recipients. 

Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated against COVID

Nearly two-thirds of New York residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as of Saturday, Oct. 16. About 12.7 million of New York’s 20 million residents were fully vaccinated, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts warn of ‘twin-demic,’ encourage flu shot & COVID vaccine

As the U.S. continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, experts warn of a potential “twin-demic.” If flu cases this year start spreading wildly while the coronavirus is still a threat, medical experts say the country could have two pandemics on its hands at the same time.

Health experts and community leaders gathered in Harlem on Saturday, Oct. 16, to encourage folks to get their flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine.

New COVID safety guidance for the holidays released by the CDC

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released updated COVID-19 safety guidance for the holiday season on Friday, Oct. 15, including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors if you’re not vaccinated and avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.

FDA endorsement essentially calls for Johnson & Johnson to be 2-shot vaccine

An FDA panel unanimously recommended a Johnson and Johnson booster vaccine on Friday, Oct. 15.  The terms of the endorsement essentially call for the J&J COVID-19 vaccine to be a two-dose shot, rather than the one-dose shot for which it’s been known since it first got emergency use authorization last spring.

The panel called for a second shot to be available to people 18 and older, at least two months after the first shot.

NYC students, coaches say COVID-19 policies create disadvantages for high school athletes

Students, coaches and parents say COVID-19 restrictions put them at a severe disadvantage when it comes to potential athletic scholarships. The New York City Public School Athletic League has some of the strictest rules in the country. 

FDA panel recommends Moderna booster shot, but the process isn’t over

A panel of medical experts affiliated with the Food and Drug Administration endorsed a COVID vaccine booster from Moderna on Thursday, Oct. 14. The panel recommended a half dose as a booster.  

Need to be vaccinated by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas? Here are the deadlines

People who want to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas are running out of time. Two of the three vaccines available in the U.S. require two doses spread weeks apart and a waiting period once the shots have been administered.

Manhattan rents soaring toward pre-pandemic levels, experts say

After a steep decline during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City rents began climbing again in recent months, returning close to pre-pandemic levels. A report from ApartmentGuide.com found the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city dropped to $2,927 in February 2021, but then jumped back up to $4,266 per month by August.

‘Vax to the Movies’: NYC launches pop-up vaccine sites at theaters

Beginning Oct. 16, pop-up mobile COVID-19 vaccine sites will be stationed near several movie theaters in New York City so people can get vaccinated before going to see a movie.

“We have found these mobile sites, these pop-up sites are some of the most successful things we’ve done in the vaccination effort,” the mayor said.

Judge denies request to block NYC’s COVID vaccine mandate for teachers, DOE staff

New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for teachers and staff cleared another legal hurdle on Tuesday, Oct. 12 after a judge declined to grant a temporary injunction while the requirement is challenged in court — again.

COVID vaccine religious exemption stays for NY health care workers

A federal judge ruled on Oct. 12 that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemption from a statewide vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.

COVID vaccine deadline arrives for NY home health aides

Home health aides who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination were barred from working with patients in New York under a new state mandate that went into effect on Friday, Oct. 8.

COVID relief checks for Nassau County residents

Nearly half a million people in the Long Island county are eligible to receive checks for $375 from the Homeowner Assistance Program after County Executive Laura Curran signed the relief bill into law Thursday, Oct. 7. Curran joined the PIX11 Morning News on Friday, Oct. 8, to explain the program, who is eligible and how residents can make sure they get their check.

Children will feel impact of pandemic on mental health for years: UNICEF report

UNICEF released a critical report on Friday, Oct. 8, which found that children and young people could feel the impact of the pandemic on their mental health for many years to come.

COVID vaccine for kids: Doctor answers your questions

The Pfizer vaccine for kids could be on the market in about a month after the drug maker filed for FDA authorization Thursday, Oct. 7, for their shot for kids ages 5 to 11.

However, many parents still have questions about the children’s COVID vaccine. Dr. Sallie Permar, the head of pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, joined the PIX11 Morning News on Friday, Oct. 8, to share more information and answer some of the biggest questions.

NYC teacher vaccine mandate enforcement begins

New York City’s vaccine mandate for Department of Education employees, including public school teachers and staff, took effect Oct. 4, 2021.

As enforcement began, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the union’s priority is safety in the classroom.

NYC health commissioner pushes COVID vaccine for kids, stops short of mandate

As the Department of Education prepares to enforce its vaccine mandate for teachers and staff on Monday, Oct. 4, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said the requirement will add another layer of protection for students.

However, when asked whether the city would issue such a mandate for students who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the health commissioner wasn’t ready to commit.

SUNY schools implement vaccine mandate; officials prepare to de-register students

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for SUNY students went into effect on Sep. 27. While most students were in compliance, those who chose to remain unvaccinated will be de-registered by Oct. 8.

Broadway’s Aladdin goes dark again due to additional COVID cases

A hit Broadway show is putting a pause on performances once again. Aladdin on Broadway performances will be canceled for several more days following additional COVID-19 cases detected within the company. The company released a statement Friday, Oct. 1, stating that additional breakthrough cases were detected.

U.S. hits 700,000 COVID deaths just as cases begin to fall

The United States reached its latest heartbreaking pandemic milestone Friday, Oct. 1, eclipsing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19 just as the surge from the delta variant is starting to slow down and give overwhelmed hospitals some relief.

Gov. Hochul appoints new NY health commissioner

Following the resignation of longtime New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced her pick for the state’s new top doctor.

Hochul on Wednesday, Sept. 29 announced that Dr. Mary T. Bassett will now serve as the state’s health commissioner. Her appointment will go into effect Dec. 1, the governor’s office said.

Bassett has “more than 30 years of experience devoted to promoting health equity and social justice,” a press release from Hochul’s office read.

Hospitals managing new NYS COVID vaccine mandate on first day

Tuesday, Sept. 28, was the first day that health care workers across New York were required to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose their jobs. A wide variety of hospitals and other health care facilities had to release workers who refused to get vaccinated from their payrolls. It was a challenge for many facilities, but it seemed surmountable, according to the latest figures provided by the facilities.

Federal judges: NYC can impose vaccine mandate on teachers

The nation’s largest school district can immediately impose a vaccine mandate on its teachers and other workers, after all, a federal appeals panel decided Monday, Sept. 27.

Vaccine mandate for NY health care workers takes effect Monday; staff shortage possible

New York’s vaccine requirement for all hospital workers and nursing home employees went into effect Monday, Sept. 27, with enforcement set to begin just after midnight Tuesday, Sept. 28 — and Gov. Kathy Hochul said she’s ready for a possible staffing shortage.

Is it safe to trick-or-treat this Halloween? CDC weighs in

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Face the Nation that kids can trick-or-treat safely this year, adding, “If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely.”

NYC launches free mental health resources for nightlife workers

New York City has launched an initiative aimed at supporting the mental health needs of workers in the nightlife community, whose shoulders much of the city’s economic revival rests upon.

Federal judge temporarily blocks NYC teacher vaccine mandate

A federal appeals court judge on Friday, Sept. 24, temporarily blocked New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Department of Education staff, just days before the requirement was set to go into effect.

The temporary injunction is separate from a state Supreme Court judge’s ruling on Wednesday, Sept. 22, that allowed the city to move forward with the mandate. The state Supreme Court’s decision was related to a similar lawsuit filed by a coalition of unions representing public school workers.

NY prepares for health care staff shortage as COVID vaccine mandate kicks in

New York officials said they were prepared to call in medically trained National Guard members and retirees to address potential staffing shortages caused by an approaching COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers.

CDC director overrules panel, backs booster for all adults in high-risk jobs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 23 endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendations from a panel of advisers, but then overnight added one more the panel had rejected.

The panel had voted against saying that people ages 18 to 64 can get a booster if they are health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.

Bill would require remote learning option for NYC schools

A proposed bill would force the city’s Department of Education to offer remote learning when the CDC designates an area with a high rate of COVID-19 transmission.

FDA OKs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for 65 and older, high-risk Americans

The FDA authorized booster doses for Americans who are 65 and older, younger people with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high-risk for COVID-19. The ruling represents a drastically scaled back version of the Biden administration’s sweeping plan to give third doses to nearly all American adults to shore up their protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

NYC teacher COVID vaccine mandate moves forward after judge lifts order

In a stunning defeat for unions representing municipal workers, a judge ruled on Wednesday, Sept. 22, that New York City can proceed with an order requiring teachers to get at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, Sept. 27, or lose their jobs.

NY announces #VaxToSchool mobile, pop-up vaccine sites

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced new #VaxToSchool pop-up and mobile vaccination sites targeting New York communities with low vaccination rates among children ages 12 to 17.

Hochul said there will be over 120 sites and vans all across the state. The program will run through the fall, according to the governor.

J&J booster shot 94% effective 2 months after 1st dose

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, Sept. 21, said new data shows a second dose — or a booster shot — of their one-shot COVID vaccine was found to be 94% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 when given two months after the initial dose.

NYC parents debate COVID vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer’s announcement on Monday, Sept. 20, that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 has some Brooklyn parents celebrating, while others weren’t so sure. Outside P.S. 20 in Fort Greene, parents appeared to be equally divided over the latest development in COVID-19 vaccines for children.

NYC changes quarantine policy, testing protocols in public schools.

Beginning Sept. 27, the city will conduct weekly COVID testing at all public schools — elementary, middle and high schools, the mayor said. The city is also relaxing the quarantine policy for children who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19.

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer said Monday, Sept. 20, its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters.

COVID cases close over 300 NYC classrooms in 1st week

In the first week of the academic year, more than 800 students and staff in New York City’s public school system tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the closure of hundreds of classrooms, according to Department of Education data.

East Harlem school closing due to COVID-19 outbreak: DOE

A growing COVID-19 outbreak closed an East Harlem school less than a week after the academic year began, according to the Department of Education.

Lawsuit challenges NY mask mandate in schools

A new lawsuit filed Friday, Sept. 17, challenges New York’s requirement that all students, staff and faculty must wear masks while in school buildings due to the ongoing pandemic. The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, advocates for parental choice and claims the state’s regulation “is arbitrary and capricious given the absence of any emergency justifying the use of emergency adoption procedures.”

Moderna vaccine is most effective against hospitalization from COVID-19: study

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared how effective each of the three COVID-19 vaccines are in preventing hospitalization from the virus. The CDC reported that effectiveness was higher for the Moderna vaccine (93%) than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (88%) and the J&J vaccine (71%).

COVID-19 is ‘getting better’ at becoming airborne virus

Recent COVID-19 variants are much more adept at airborne transmission than the original version of the coronavirus, according to a new study. University of Maryland researchers analyzed the Alpha variant first identified in the United Kingdom and discovered that carriers breathe out 43 to 100 times more infectious viral aerosols than those infected with the original strain.

U.S. panel backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters only for 65 and over, high-risk

An influential federal advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots to most Americans, but it endorsed the extra shots for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.

COVID cases close nearly 60 NYC classrooms in first 2 days: DOE data

More than 200 students and staff in New York City’s public schools tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two days of the academic year, forcing the closure of dozens of classrooms, according to Department of Education data. The new cases resulted in the full closure and quarantine of at least 58 classrooms as well as 86 partial closures.

FEMA to reimburse NYC’s public hospital system $1B in COVID expenses

After waiting nearly one year to be paid back, FEMA has finally agreed to reimburse the city’s public hospital system for $1 billion in expenses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Judges temporarily block two vaccine mandates

New York Supreme Court Judge Laurence Love on Tuesday, Sept. 14, issued a restraining order against New York City’s vaccine mandate for public school teachers and staff, temporarily blocking the city from enforcing it.

The court set a Sept. 22 hearing date for both sides to hash it out.

Additionally, a federal judge temporarily blocked the state’s mandate forcing medical workers to be vaccinated after a group of health care workers sued, saying their constitutional rights were violated.

The judge gave the state until Sept. 22 to respond to the lawsuit.

School starts for 1 million NYC kids amid new vaccine rules

School started Sept. 13 for about 1 million New York City public school students in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike some school districts across the country that are still offering online instruction to families that prefer it, New York City officials provided no remote option despite the persistence of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.

NYC municipal workers return to the office

Nearly all of New York City’s 300,000 employees will be required to be back in their workplaces, in person, Monday, Sept. 13, as the city ends remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing to remain in their jobs.

Key to NYC vaccine requirement enforcement

Enforcement of the city’s Key to NYC vaccine requirement for all workers and patrons of New York businesses began Monday, Sept. 13.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said civilian inspectors from 13 city agencies will help enforce the law, which requires proof of vaccination at restaurants, clubs and bars, fitness centers, gyms, pools, movie theaters, concert venues, museums and aquariums, sports arenas and more.

See a full list of places in NYC under the vaccine mandate.

New NYC education vaccine mandate

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday, Sept. 9, announced the city is expanding its vaccine mandate beyond just teachers and school staff.

All staff at city contracted child care and after-school programs will also need to be vaccinated, the mayor said. They will need to get at least one dose by Sept. 27, the same date as the teachers’ mandate.

NYC Catholic schools welcome students back

Wednesday, Sept. 8 was the first day of school for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York.

There are some new rules in place compared to last year. Vaccines will be encouraged but not mandatory, which differs from the New York City public school system.

Masks will be mandatory, and children will be put into “pods” or groups to limit the exposure and spread of potential COVID-19.

NYC schools COVID safety hearing

New York City public schools reopen on Sept. 13, but there are still plenty of questions surrounding the health and safety of students and staff.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi testified at a City Council oversight hearing on the back-to-school health and safety protocols.

NY gov brings back legislature over evictions

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the state legislature into a special session; she said she wanted to extend the state’s eviction moratorium and add protections for tenants and landlords.

EU removes U.S. from safe travel list

The European Union recommended that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there.

COVID-19 variants significantly reduce protection of vaccines, prior infection: study

A new study confirms that vaccinations and even prior COVID-19 infection provide significantly less protection against newer variants. Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University say in order to protect against the Alpha, Beta, and now Delta variants, these findings stress the importance of doubling down on both vaccinations and public health measures during the pandemic.

Mask debate moves from school boards to courtrooms

The rancorous debate over whether returning students should wear masks in the classroom has moved from school boards to courtrooms. In at least 14 states, lawsuits have been filed either for or against masks in schools. In some cases, normally rule-enforcing school administrators are finding themselves fighting state leaders in the name of keeping kids safe.

Supreme Court allows evictions to resume during pandemic

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. New York’s statewide rent moratorium remains in effect only through the end of August.

NYC mayor outlines safety guidelines for public schools

The mayor and the schools chancellor outlined several protocols that will be implemented by the start of school, including mask requirements for everyone no matter their vaccination status, three-feet social distancing where possible and health screenings. 

These foods are extra hard to find right now because of shortages, supply chain issues

Notice your grocery store shelves looking a little bare lately? You’re definitely not the only one. Supply chain issues have created shortages of highly specific ingredients.

‘It’s up to us’: Fauci says pandemic could possibly end by spring 2022

The nation’s top infectious disease expert believes the pandemic’s end is near as long as the U.S. follows the right protocols to contain COVID-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he sees the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only open if the country’s 80 million to 90 million unvaccinated people are convinced to get the shot.

Comirnaty: What’s the story behind the new Pfizer vaccine name?

Comirnaty, who? It’s the same exact mRNA vaccine Pfizer has been producing through the emergency use authorization, but now it’s being marketed under a new name.

How in-home COVID vaccinations in NYC help lower infection rate

The five boroughs are seeing COVID case rates decline after weeks of increases. It’s in sharp contrast to the nation’s COVID indicators, and city medical leaders have mainly attributed the decreases to increased vaccinations as well as precautions, including masking and social distancing.

Cardinal Dolan: No vaccine mandate for Catholic school teachers

Timothy Cardinal Dolan spoke with PIX11 News about clergy getting involved in the push for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Is an earache a new COVID-19 symptom?

Doctors say they’re seeing a new COVID-19 symptom in some patients. According to experts, an earache has been reported more frequently by those testing positive for COVID. Earaches can cause pain, a feeling of blockage and sometimes muffled hearing.

With help from Avengers, health officials push COVID vaccinations in Times Square

SOMOS Community Care, the largest minority-led health network in New York, partnered with the city, state, and Marvel Avengers for a pop-up vaccination site at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue to encourage vaccinations among the 12+ age group.

Group in NYC protests COVID vaccine mandates outside City Hall

A large group of employees of the City of New York gathered outside City Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday, Aug. 25, to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Only 0.33% of fully vaccinated New Yorkers diagnosed with COVID

Less than 1% of fully vaccinated New Yorkers have contracted COVID, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday, Aug. 25, as the city’s vaccination efforts continue.

Hochul adds 12,000 deaths to publicized NY COVID tally

New York’s new governor acknowledged that the state has had nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than former Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the public. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said on Wednesday, Aug. 25 that almost 55,400 people had of the coronavirus in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from about 43,400 that Cuomo reported to the public as of his last day in office.

Johnson & Johnson: Vaccine booster provides ‘rapid, robust’ response

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday, Aug. 25, announced new data the company said supports the use of its COVID vaccine as a booster shot for people previously vaccinated with their single-shot vaccine.

J&J said the new data showed that a booster shot of their vaccine generated a “rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination.”

Read more here now.

NY health officials optimistic FDA approval will sway more COVID vaccinations

Health officials around New York said they’re optimistic the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine will sway more hesitant people to get protected against COVID-19.

Immunocompromised NYC students will get in-home instruction; no remote learning

Remote learning remains off the table for immunocompromised students in New York City, but they will be given the option of having a licensed instructor teach them at home, the Department of Education told PIX11 on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

NY Gov. Hochul: Expect school mask mandates, vaccine requirements

Safely reopening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority for New York’s newly sworn-in Gov. Kathy Hochul. The governor on Tuesday, Aug. 24, outlined several ways she plans to ensure children safely return to the classroom in September, including plans for a mask mandate and vaccine requirement.

Hochul ‘not satisfied’ with speed of financial relief for NYers: ‘I want the money out now’

In her first address as the state’s chief executive, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul skewered the COVID relief process from Washington down, saying she’s “not at all satisfied” with the pace in which funds have been distributed.

Cuomo: NY businesses should require COVID vaccinations for eligible employees

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with just hours left in office, called for all employers in New York to require vaccinations for eligible employees. His announcement on Aug. 23 came as the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer.

NYC public school teachers, staff will be required to get vaccinated

All NYC public school teachers and staff (about 148,000 school employees — and contractors who work in schools) will be required to get vaccinated and have to get at least a first dose by Sept. 27. There will be no testing option.

Will COVID booster shot have the same side effects as the first two shots?

The Biden administration said Wednesday, Aug. 18, that COVID booster shots will soon be available, but how will the Sept. 20 rollout work, and what side effects should Americans expect?

Mayoral candidates, union leaders urge NYPD officers to get vaccinated, improve numbers

Less than half of uniformed and civilian personnel in the NYPD are vaccinated, according to new data, a sign of vaccine hesitancy within the department.

Lambda and B.1.621: New COVID variants could be the worst yet, doctor warns

At least two new COVID-19 variants have hit the United States and they could be worse than the delta variant in their infectiousness and ability to stand up to vaccines, according to a top medical authority.

COVID variants a worry even with 75% of adults in NYC receiving at least 1 dose of vaccine

New York State and New York City officials say about 75% of adults have received at least one vaccine shot. But, according to immunologist Dr. Purvi Parikh of NYU Langone Heath, the arrival of the delta variant means the 70% vaccination rare won’t bring about the end of COVID any time soon.

U.S. health officials call for booster shots for all to battle COVID-19

U.S. health officials recommended all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. The announcement was made on Aug. 18.

What is the lambda variant and how contagious is the strain of COVID-19?

Although delta remains the most prevalent variant, the lambda strain of COVID-19 is starting to emerge and there’s little known about it. According to the World Health Organization, lambda was first discovered in Peru last year. Since April, it’s been responsible for more than 80% of cases reported there.

BK business defies Key to NYC vaccine mandate

New York City’s vaccine mandate for restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues began on Aug. 17, but a business owner in Brooklyn says she won’t turn away unvaccinated customers.

NYC indoor vaccine mandate begins

New York City’s vaccine mandate, called the Key to NYC Pass, went into effect on 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.

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.

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

The second installment of expanded child tax credits was issued Friday, Aug. 13, 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.

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.

U.S. 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.

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.

U.S. 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.

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.

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.

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 delta variant. Show organizers said on Aug. 4, 2021 that they decided to cancel it this year.

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, 2021, that more “pain and suffering” was on the horizon as COVID-19 cases climbed again and officials pleaded with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.

COVID cases rose faster in July 2021 despite vaccinations

The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in New York in late July rose at a faster and steadier pace than it did in fall 2020, before anyone was vaccinated.

Delta variant research makes strong case for vaccination

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late July 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.

Broadway requires audiences be vaccinated, wear masks

Ahead of Broadway’s reopening in September, the owners and operators of all 41 theaters said attendees would need to mask up and show proof of vaccination to enter.

CDC data shows delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new information on July 30, 2021, saying the delta variant can spread as easily as chickenpox.

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.

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, 2021.

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

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on July 28, 2021 that all state employees would be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Labor Day or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Additionally, he said all patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals would be required to get the vaccine without an option of weekly testing.

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 on July 26, 2021. The new online application loosened the standards for documentation, including for multi-tenant landlords who need to submit arrears documents. 

U.S. headed in ‘wrong direction’ on COVID-19: Fauci

The United States was 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, 2021.

Sen. Schumer goes after NY rental assistance program

Roughly $2 billion in federal rental assistance remained in the hands of New York State on July 25, 2021, 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.

Heated NYC mask mandate debate amid delta variant spike

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

Doctors warn of slightly different symptoms with delta variant

Health experts studying the delta variant found the strain had slightly different symptoms than other COVID variants.

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 declines to investigate state-run nursing homes in NY

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

FEMA slow to pay NYC public hospitals back for COVID expenses

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

Vaccine or weekly testing mandated for NYC health care workers

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on July 21, 2021, that health care workers in city-run hospitals and health clinics would have to either get vaccinated or get tested weekly. The COVID-19 safety requirement went into effect on Aug. 2. 

Delta variant becomes dominant strain in NYC

The delta variant became the dominant strain of COVID-19 in New York City in mid-July. City Council Health Committee Chairman Mark Levine said the delta variant made up 69% of new cases — 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?

‘Pandemic of the unvaccinated’

President Joe Biden was forced to confront the worrying reality of rising cases and deaths — and the limitations of his ability to combat the persistent vaccine hesitance responsible for a 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 study revealed hospitalized coronavirus patients who took statins were much less likely to die from the illness.

No NYC indoor mask mandate despite delta COVID wave

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in July, spawned by the delta variant, Los Angeles County announced it would reinstitute its indoor mask mandate. However, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would hold off on making a similar announcement unless there was a jump in COVID hospitalizations.

NYC not dropping mask mandate for students

New York City students still have to wear masks in schools during the 2021-2022 academic year, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in July.

Child tax credit: How it may impact tax returns

Payments for the highly anticipated expanded child tax credits were sent to families across the United States 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 China COVID lab leak

The head of the World Health Organization acknowledged on July 15, 2021, that it was premature to rule out a potential link between the COVID-19 pandemic and a laboratory leak.

Wildfire smoke linked to increased COVID-19 risk: study

A study released in July 2021 suggested that exposure to wildfire smoke is linked to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

NY took conservative approach to counting COVID deaths

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

Delta variant spurs COVID cases in summer 2021

The delta variant fueled new COVID-19 cases in New York City beginning in July, and health officials urged New Yorkers to get vaccinated if they hadn’t already done so. NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi told the PIX11 Morning News that he was very concerned about the number of hospitalizations the delta variant could cause.

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

The global death toll from COVID-19 eclipsed 4 million on July 7, 2021, as the crisis increasingly became a race between the vaccine and the highly contagious delta variant.

Unvaccinated made up 99% of U.S. COVID deaths in July 2021

America’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said in July that about 99.2% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States involved unvaccinated people. “It’s really sad and tragic that most all of these are avoidable and preventable,” he added.

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 in the summer of 2020 after a member of the family tested positive, a state court official said in July. 

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.

Latest official numbers

As of Tuesday, there have been at least 4,240,039 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 2020. There have been 49,785 fatalities, according to data from the state. There have been 62,458 fatalities, according to data from the CDC.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York State COVID-19 hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also posted on the NYS Health Department website

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