New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. Certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens are under a zoned shutdown. A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. 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:
- FDA Formally Approves Remdesivir As First COVID Treatment
- Ask An Epidemiologist: Planes, Trains, Or Shelter In Place — How Should We Handle The Holidays?
- Four "Red Zone" ZIP Codes In South Brooklyn See Steady Decline In Virus Cases
4:45 p.m. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday released new testing data on virus hotspots across the state, including four zones in New York City, that have been under a three-tier system of shutdowns.
In Brooklyn's red zone, which includes Gravesend, Midwood, Borough Park, and Flatlands, 2.5% of tests performed Thursday came back positive. The seven-day rolling average positivity rate is 4.6%, down from about 6% earlier this month. The trend is consistent with what New York City's health department has reported.
More than two weeks ago, Cuomo announced zoned shutdowns in four areas across the state. Neighborhoods in red zones, which have the highest infection rates, have been forced to close all non-essential businesses and schools. Houses of worship cannot allow more than 10 congregants at a time.
On Wednesday, Cuomo relaxed restrictions in some areas, but kept the same rules in place for the most severely affected red zones.
A swath of other South Brooklyn neighborhoods including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Brighton Beach and parts of Kensington and Flatbush recorded a 1.9% daily positivity rate, down from 2.1% the prior day. But in a bad sign, the seven-day rolling average positivity rate—which experts say is a more accurate indicator—has climbed since earlier this month, from 1.4% to 2.4%.
The above cited areas have been placed in yellow zones, which have the least restrictions; schools and businesses can stay open as long as they follow certain precautionary measures.
In Queens, which saw most restrictions lifted this week, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills had a positivity of 1.62%, down from 1.9% on the prior day. Those neighborhoods, which were moved completely into a yellow zone this week, had a seven-day rolling average positivity rate of 2.2%, down from 3.7% earlier this month.
Far Rockaway, which is also now a yellow zone, recorded a daily positivity of 1.4%, down from 1.8% on the prior day. The seven-day rolling average positivity rate is around 2%, down from 2.9%.
The latest report from the state did not include data for Ozone Park, which was added on Wednesday to the list of yellow zones.
New York City residents wishing to find out whether they live, work or go to school in one of the affected zones can do so by entering an address in the city's COVID-19 Zone Finder.
FDA Formally Approves Remdesivir As First COVID Treatment
The Federal Drug Administration on Thursday approved the antiviral drug remdesivir as the first fully authorized treatment for COVID-19.
The drug is now cleared for use by adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 88 pounds who are hospitalized for coronavirus.
Back in May, the FDA had granted remdesivir emergency use authorization following a trial that showed that it reduced recovery times from 15 days to 10 on average. However, a recently published study by the World Health Organization found that the drug does not prevent patients from dying of coronavirus.
Still, the full approval indicates the federal agency's confidence in the drug as an effective treatment following a more thorough review of clinical data and production quality.
Remdesivir was among the therapeutics administered to President Donald Trump and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when they contracted COVID-19.
“Today’s approval is supported by data from multiple clinical trials that the agency has rigorously assessed and represents an important scientific milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic," said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, in a statement.
The drug is produced by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. The cost of the remedy is controversially high, according to the Associated Press. Those covered by government health programs are charged $2,340 for a typical treatment while patients that have private insurance are charged $3,120.
Some medical experts on Twitter criticized the approval of the treatment, arguing that the results to date had been mixed.