New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. Citing rising hospitalization rates, Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended indoor dining in NYC starting December 14th. After being shut down for several weeks, NYC public schools partially reopened on December 7th for 3K-5th grade students, with students with special needs returning on December 10th. Certain parts of Staten Island remain under a zoned shutdown.
Get answers to questions you may have with our "Ask An Epidemiologist" series, or learn more about NYC COVID-19 testing options with our explainer. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
Here's the latest:
State data released Saturday shows New York City will fail to administer 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month, which Mayor Bill de Blasio had warned of early this week as the supply of doses has dwindled.
The state’s estimates show 725,212 of 974,160 first and second doses, or 74% of the supply, have been administered in the five boroughs. In a statement released Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said while he’s grateful the state is expected to receive a 16% increase in vaccine doses over the next three weeks, the demand has certainly outpaced supply.
"New York's vast distribution network is capable of handling more than 100,000 vaccinations per day, but to actually do it, we need more doses from the federal government," Cuomo said. "While the 16 percent bump in weekly vaccine supply over the next three weeks is a welcome increase, the reality is that we simply need more supply. As we get through this next phase of the war, I urge New Yorker's to continue to wear a mask, socially distance, and stay New York Tough."
Seven million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the shot, according to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State data shows it has received 1.4 million doses, in which 91% have been administered by health care facilities and clinics.
The release of these figures show the city is falling short of de Blasio’s goal of providing 1 million doses by the end of the month.
While some vaccination sites remain closed, including a 24/7 site Citi Field, others remain open even as supply has dwindled.
The vaccine shortage comes as the second wave of the pandemic continues to kill New Yorkers. Four of the five boroughs saw the number of COVID-19 deaths rise in the double digits even as the rate of infection for COVID-19 begins to decline across the state, according to figures released Cuomo on Saturday.
Sixty people in New York City lost their lives from the virus on Friday—13 in the Bronx, 14 in Brooklyn, 11 in Manhattan, 20 in Queens, and two in Staten Island. Cuomo said the state was past the “post-holiday spike” that contributed to a high number of cases. He reiterated his pledge to reopen indoor dining in New York City if the rate of infection continues to drop.
"We must continue taking steps to reopen our economy, but we have to do it smartly and safely," Cuomo said. "As New York continues to build out one of the nation's most expansive vaccination networks to get as many shots in arms as possible, we must all remember to take responsibility at an individual level also and do what's necessary for stamping out virus once and for all. The light at the end of the tunnel is within sight, it's just going to take all of us staying tough and united to get there."
CDC Mandates Masks Be Worn By Travelers Using Public Transportation
12 p.m.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ordering travelers to put on face masks if they're relying on public transportation to get around, the agency announced late Friday.
The emergency order takes effect on Monday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and applies to commuters getting around by airplane, ship, subway, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. The masks must also be worn inside airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations and seaports. Employees at these transportation hubs are now required to “use best efforts” in ensuring travelers comply with the order, which could include kicking them out of the vehicle or facility if they refuse to comply. By and large, such orders are already in place, with the CDC having previously issued recommendations.
The order does not apply to children under age two, a person with a disability as recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act, truck drivers traveling alone, or any employee who thinks wearing a mask can pose a workplace hazard. Masks can be take off when eating or drinking, according to the order.
In the 11-page order by Dr. Martin S. Cetron, the CDC's director of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, wrote that the mandate will "provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic."
"Given how interconnected most transportation systems are across the nation and the world, local transmission can grow even more quickly into interstate and international transmission when infected persons travel on non-personal conveyances without wearing a mask and with others who are not wearing masks," Cetron wrote. "Therefore, I have determined that the mask-wearing requirements in this Order are reasonably necessary to prevent the further introduction, transmission, or spread of COVID-19 into the United States and among the states and territories."
The order comes a week after President Joe Biden ordered all federal agencies to use their best efforts to adopt his order for mandatory masks in public and in space that's shared with the general public.
The Transportation Security Administration will enforce the order, which carries criminal penalties, including fines, for non-compliant mask wearers.