One year anniversary of 1st U.S. COVID case; Gov. Cuomo talks vaccine, new strains, and New York’s data

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — One year ago the United States of America reported its first case of the coronavirus in Seattle, Washington. Fast forward to Wednesday, and New York’s Governor Cuomo is sharing news on the vaccination process and the state’s improving COVID-19 data.

The state’s positivity rate is at 6.84% with hospitalizations in most regions remaining steady. The Finger Lakes region continues to be among the highest in the state.

Cuomo said New York is in a footrace between its infection rate and the vaccine. The infection rate, “a function of people’s behavior” is currently on the decline while more people are being vaccinated. But the vaccination rate is limited by the supply being given.

Statewide over 1,156,000 vaccines have been administered. That’s 86% of New York’s allotment. With 1,200 distribution sites across the state, Cuomo said New York averages 65,000 doses per day. Many distributors are running out of supply within a matter of days.

The governor said it’s expected the state will get 250,000 for next week’s allotment from the federal government. At this rate, Cuomo says it’ll take up to 7 months to vaccinate everyone who is currently eligible for the vaccine.

Due to the lack of supply, Cuomo is asking points of distribution to avoid scheduling more appointments than their allocation to avoid having to cancel appointments and causing more chaos.

He also outlined a list of priorities by distribution point.

Distribution PointPriority Group
HospitalsHealthcare workers
County/City Departments of HealthEssential workers
Pharmacies65+ population

Cuomo said by prioritizing who gets vaccinated where, the vaccine will be distributed more fairly among the eligible groups. Allocations for each point of distribution will be given by region and the percent of the population that distribution site should serve.

The governor expressed concerns over new strains of the coronavirus. The UK strain is known to be more contagious and CDC projections say it could take over by March. There are four known cases of the UK COVID-19 strain in New York. South African and Brazilian strains are being found as well, although none have been found in New York State yet.

Cuomo’s concern is there will be a strain that is vaccine-resistant. He compared the new strains with the flu virus, saying the flu mutates every year, and every year a new vaccine is administered to prevent the spread. “I believe it is only a matter of time before there’s a strain much more lethal and possibly vaccine-resistant. I believe you have to plan for that. Probability suggests there will be a strain that is vaccine-resistant,” said Cuomo.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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