As COVID-19 rates rise across New York, Governor Cuomo worried about potential vaccine hurdles

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NEW YORK, NY – JULY 01: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 1, 2020 in New York City. The governor expressed alarm at Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent prediction that there could be 100,000 new Covid-19 cases per day and provided a number of updates related to an increase of states where out-of-state visitors will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
(Photo by Byron Smith/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Tuesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke to the media on a conference call, where he gave an update on coronavirus numbers in New York State. Additionally, he discussed his worries for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Overall, New York State has a positive COVID-19 infection rate of 4.96%. Without the microclusters, the state is at 4.4%, while just the microclusters clock in at 6.2%. Across New York, here is what the infection rates look like:

  • Western New York: 7.2%
  • Finger Lakes: 6.2%
  • Central New York: 5%
  • Mid-Hudson Valley: 4.7%
  • Mohawk Valley: 4.4%
  • Capital Region: 3.4%
  • New York City: 3.1%
  • Southern Tier: 2.6%

Sadly, 66 New Yorkers died of COVID-19 on Monday. More than 3,700 New Yorkers were hospitalized with coronavirus, which is up 242 from Monday.

Besides updating New Yorkers on COVID-19 numbers, Cuomo talked about his worries regarding coronavirus vaccine distribution.

Many experts say it could be well into late summer of 2021 before a vaccine is widely available.

“That is a relatively long period of time,” Cuomo said. “That also depends on how effective we are at distributing the vaccine and distributing the vaccine will be the greatest governmental operation since COVID begin.”

Cuomo said he sees three problems with the current plan to distribute the vaccine:

  • The expense. It will be expensive to distribute, store, deliver, and provide a vaccine. The federal government is putting the burden on the states, which have received little to no funding, and are already facing budget cuts on essential services.
  • Distributing to underfunded communities. Cuomo is concerned the poor and rural communities, as well as communities with large Black and Brown populations, will be underserved, much like these places have been underserved when it comes to testing.
  • A data sharing agreement the federal government wants states to sign. The data shared would include things like age and race, but also requires an identification number, like a Social Security Number, passport number, or driver’s license number. Cuomo is worried about undocumented people who don’t have those types of identifying numbers.

In nine months, the country has done 128 million COVID-19 tests. There could be 330 million vaccine doses to administer.

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