NY marks 1 year since first known COVID case as vaccine rollout gets boost from J&J

Coronavirus
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Monday marked the anniversary of the first known, confirmed COVID-19 case in New York.

On March 1, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a Manhattan woman in her 30s who traveled to Iran tested positive for the virus.

The governor had said in a statement that the case was “no cause for surprise.”

“As I said from the beginning, it was a matter of when, not if there would be a positive case of novel coronavirus in New York,” Cuomo said in the statement. “There is no reason for undue anxiety — the general risk remains low in New York. We are diligently managing this situation and will continue to provide information as it becomes available.”

On March 14, 2020, the first COVID-19 death was reported in New York. By March 20, 2020, New York City was declared the epicenter of the pandemic.

As of Monday, over 1.6 million New Yorkers have contracted the virus and more than 38,400 have died, according to the state Health Department.

COVID-19 antibody research has since proven the virus was circulating undetected in New York earlier in 2020, and the true toll of the virus is thought to be much higher given the lack of testing capabilities at the start of the pandemic.

Monday’s anniversary also comes as the third FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine began shipping to states across the country.

Nearly 4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are expected to be delivered to states for injections starting on Tuesday. J&J will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March and 100 million total by the end of June, but the distribution will be backloaded.

Though the new shot is easier to administer and requires only one dose, the White House said President Joe Biden’s administration is not altering its distribution plans.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine joins the ranks of two-dose vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, which were granted emergency use authorization by the FDA in December.

The White House is encouraging Americans to take the first dose available to them, regardless of manufacturer.

In New York, about 10 million people are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state Health Department distribution guidelines.

More than 2.9 million New Yorkers have received a first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and over 1.6 million — about 8% of the state’s population — are fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the state DOH.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press

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