New York on the Cusp of Having Most COVID-19 Related Restrictions Lifted
Editorial comment: “Based upon the recent news and that which NY Governor has stated in the past, our educated guess is that very soon (possibly as early as tomorrow) the Governor will make an announcement stating that most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted.
Today, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 69.9% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s just one tenth of a percentile shy of the milestone he’d spoken of last week.
“We are moving forward to our reimagined, post-COVID future at an incredible pace. A year ago, it was unfathomable to think we’d be at this point today,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we approach our goal of 70 percent of New Yorkers with at least one dose of their vaccine, we also reflect on all we’ve been through. New York is the greatest state in the nation and New Yorkers have shown that they are a true force to be reckoned with. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get your COVID-19 vaccine so that you can fully enjoy all that this beautiful state has to offer with your loved ones this summer.”
On June 7 the Governor said that most COVID related restrictions would be lifted once we reached a threshold of 70%.
In April of 2020, Mr. Cuomo first spoke of the concept of herd immunity. Later in the year he would make references to the 70-90% of the vaccinated population needed to reach a safer point of proceeding forward sans grave concerns over the virus’ threats.
Recently, the subject’s come up during one of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press conferences. It would not be the first time it’s been spoken of during his pressers.
On June 9, during that day’s presser, President and CEO Mitchell Katz, NYC Health + Hospitals had the following to say in response to a question posed by a reporter for WCBS 880:
“…herd immunity, it means that everybody is protected from infection because everybody else has been vaccinated. We’re not at that stage. And that’s why there continues to be infections. But we are at functional immunity, which the way I look at it is New York City keeps opening. There’s more and more activity. We’re hugging each other, we’re shaking hands. And yet the number of cases is decreasing, just the opposite of what happened when New York City began to open last year. So, the high rates of vaccination are resulting in fewer infections, despite increased contact. And so that’s why I think of it as a functional immunity.”
Following that came input from Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
“I agree with what Dr. Katz has said. We have to think about this as community immunity that is driven by vaccination. And the numbers speak for themselves. 73 percent of our seniors have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. 64 percent of New York City adults have gotten at least one dose. And 53 percent of the full population, that includes children, including those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, have also gotten one dose of the vaccine. So, the level of protection that we have gotten to is really driven by those achievements with respect to vaccination. But it’s also an opportunity for us to emphasize that there remain people who are unvaccinated. And we want to reach every single New Yorker to extend that blanket of protection as widely as possible across the city.”
Governor Cuomo on June 7:
“The light at the end of the tunnel is to remove the remaining COVID restrictions, right? Get to a point where COVID is not inhibiting our society, not inhibiting our growth. To do that we have to be at 70 percent. When we hit 70 percent, then I feel comfortable saying to the people of this state we can relax virtually all restrictions. We’re at 68.6 almost there, but this isn’t horseshoes. We want to be at 70 percent. 1.4 percent to go, and then we can lift the capacity restriction, social distancing, the hygiene protocols, the health screenings, the potential tracing. Masks will only be required as recommended by the CDC. There’ll be still will be some institutional guidelines. Large venues, schools, public transportation, hospitals, nursing homes. But we hit 70 percent we will be back to life as normal, or as normalized as you can be post-COVID.”
“We have to hit 70 percent. When we hit 70, it’s going to be a day to celebrate, and the restrictions will come off and the Empire State Building will be blue and gold and all the state assets will be blue and gold and we can say we did it. We did it. We went from the highest infection rate on the globe to one of the lowest positivity rates on the globe, and to one of the highest vaccination rates on the globe. A turnaround story that has never been seen in this state and we saved thousands and thousands of lives in the meantime. “