NY Downscales Vaccine Megasites, Shifts Focus; COVID Hospitalizations Hit 9-Month Low

The first phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's downscaling plan begins Monday as the state shifts its resources to localized vaccination efforts

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What to Know

  • New York is scaling down its mass vaccine sites and shoring up its localized efforts as core viral rates continue to fall statewide; nearly 11 million adults in the state have gotten at least one shot so far
  • Statewide hospitalizations are at their lowest total (485) since Sept. 21 and have been more than halved since June 1, while the rolling positivity rate is in the midst of a 77-day stretch of decline
  • Nationally, nearly 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows. That includes almost 56% of the U.S.' adult population, 77.2% of its seniors and 52.8% of all eligible residents age 12 and up

Six months after New York began vaccinating residents against COVID-19, nearly 11 million adults have gotten at least one shot and the utility of its once jam-packed mass distribution sites has begun to fade.

Now the state is shifting its attention to the remaining 29% of its long-eligible adult population that hasn't yet chosen to get protected as it looks to maintain viral progress that has seen daily deaths fall to nearly nine-month lows.

The first phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's downscale plan begins Monday, with the closing of mass vaccine sites in Corning, Oneonta, Potsdam and Queens York College. The governor continues to announce localized pop-up sites targeting ZIP codes where vaccine rates are below the statewide average.

"From the highest positivity rate on the globe to one of the lowest positivity rates in the nation, New Yorkers have worked tirelessly to keep their communities safe and show up for each other throughout the pandemic," Cuomo said Monday. "With reopening underway, New Yorkers should be proud of themselves and start living life again, enjoying all that our beautiful state has to offer."

"If you haven't already, get your vaccine so you can live life uninhibited and go forward to make priceless memories with your loved ones," he added.

The state will continue to expand its hyperlocal vaccine outreach as it downsizes its more broad-based efforts, Cuomo says.

Late last week, as New York wrapped up celebrations for its 70% partial adult vaccination rate milestone and the removal of most COVID restrictions, Cuomo debuted a new statewide dashboard that breaks down vaccine data by ZIP code.

The variations within the boroughs of New York City, for example, are quite stark in cases. Overall, though, the Empire State's COVID picture has improved dramatically.

Cuomo reported 10 new COVID fatalities on Monday, up from a Sept. 28 low of four a day earlier. Statewide hospitalizations are at their lowest total (485) since Sept. 21 and have been slashed by more than half since the first day of June alone.

The state's seven-day positivity rate is at 0.37%, marking a record low for 24 consecutive days amid a 77-day stretch of decline. And life is picking up accordingly.

On Monday, for the first time since the pandemic hit, the Mets will welcome baseball fans to Citi Field at 100% capacity for a doubleheader against the Atalnta Braves (assuming the weather holds out).

Like most places across the state, social distancing and mask requirements at the former mass vaccination site in Queens have been eased and fans no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID test or vaccination.

The team said last week that it is also in the process of eliminating separate seating sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans.

In another measure of how far the one-time national epicenter of the COVID pandemic has come, Madison Square Garden held its first concert at full capacity in more than 460 days over the weekend.

The Foo Fighters rocked the stadium with nearly 21,000 on Sunday and were joined by comedian Dave Chappelle, who sang Radiohead's "Creep." Just the day before, Chappelle's documentary premiered at Radio City Music Hall for a full-capacity, fully vaccinated audience to mark the Tribeca Festival's closing night.

New Jersey also crossed its governor's vaccine milestone last week. Like Cuomo, Gov. Phil Murphy says he wants the Garden State to keep adding to the count.

It's unclear how long natural immunity will last for the 1.1 million people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York since January of this year. But medical experts say that kind of immunity doesn't last as long as the protection afforded by vaccines, which provide immunity for six to nine months and possibly longer.

Nationally, nearly 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated to date, CDC data shows. That includes almost 56% of the United States' adult population, 77.2% of its seniors and 52.8% of all eligible residents age 12 and up.

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