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New York State COVID-19 rates continued to decline slightly on Saturday, although another 172 people died from the disease. A new case of the faster-spreading COVID-19 strain originally found in the UK has been discovered in Westchester County.
According to the governor’s office, the state’s positivity rate as of Jan. 16 was 5.61%, with 13,842 positive diagnoses reported from 246,507 test results that day. The rate in New York City was 5.69%, practically unchanged from the two preceding days (5.70% on January 14, 5.66% on January 15). However, the city accounted for 5,751 (41.5%) of the new cases reported nationwide on Saturday.
Even if the curve appears to flatten after a spike after the vacation, concerns remain about the spread of the more infectious strain of COVID-19. Another case was found in Westchester County, the governor’s office reported, the 18th case of the statewide variant.
New York State recorded 172 more deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, including 44 in New York City. Eighteen of the 44 deaths occurred in Queens, followed by nine in Brooklyn, eight in Manhattan, six in Staten Island and three in the Bronx.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the strain could become the predominant version of COVID-19 in the US by March – potentially overloading healthcare systems that are already struggling to meet demand from infected patients.
The CDC also recommended last week that all adults 65 and over, as well as those with compromised immune systems, be vaccinated as soon as possible. Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed, but warned that New York State is currently not receiving enough vaccines to quickly meet this mandate.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for qualified individuals to get timely appointments through city and state vaccination centers. The earliest data available at some locations is March or April. In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned on Friday that the city could run out of COVID-19 vaccines this week. The city receives a portion of 250,000 vaccines each week allocated by the federal government to New York State.
On Sunday, Cuomo reiterated his appeal from last week that President-elect Biden do something to step up efforts to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as he takes office at 12 noon that Wednesday.
“New York moved heaven and earth to create one of the largest vaccination networks in the country, and we get shots in the arms as quickly and efficiently as possible – we just need more vaccines,” Cuomo said. “It is time for the federal government to step up, step up supplies and actually help the state defeat this virus once and for all.”
Biden said Friday that he would immediately seek a dramatic acceleration in vaccination efforts across the country, including ordering larger vaccine production and supplies and dispatching a network of disaster relief workers and even retired doctors to organize shots in as many guns as possible possible to get.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, also said Sunday that Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in 100 days was “doable” – especially with the expected FDA emergency clearances for two more COVID-19- Vaccines is being developed by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.