New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms, as well as 25% indoor dining. Schools are shut down, but will reopen on December 7th to 3K-5th grade students. Certain parts of Staten Island under a zoned shutdown.
Get answers to questions you may have with our "Ask An Epidemiologist" series, or learn more aboutNYC 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:
A 90-year-old British grandmother on Tuesday became the first person in the world to receive Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine as health officials began the largest mass vaccination effort in the United Kingdom's history.
The U.K., which has been the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, is seeking to immunize 20 million people over the next several months. U.K. health officials are prioritizing those over the age of 80, frontline healthcare workers, as well as nursing home staff and residents.
Over 61,000 Brits have died from the virus, while more than 1.7 million have been infected.
Margaret Keenan, a former jewelry shop assistant who is set to turn 91 next week, called the shot "the best early birthday present," according to the Guardian.
Videos posted to social media showed Keenan receiving a round of applause at her local hospital in Coventry. Pfizer's vaccine requires two doses, so she is scheduled to come back in 21 days to receive another "jab," as the British prefer to say.
In the United States, Food and Drug Administration authorities are expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine as early as this week. The FDA's vaccination committee is set to convene on Thursday to grant emergency authorization on Thursday.
The committee is also expected to review another vaccine candidate by Moderna on December 17th.
Late stage trials have shown that both vaccines have more than 90% efficacy rate.
The urgency for a vaccine in the U.S. is growing with every passing day. On Monday, the COVID Tracking Project reported that the 7-day average for deaths are at record levels in the Midwest, South, and West.
And according to the New York Times, the country saw the most coronavirus-related deaths in a weeklong period.
Both California and New York have established new shutdown triggers in an attempt to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he would order non-essential business shutdowns by region if hospitals reached 90% capacity. He also said he plans to end indoor dining in New York City if the hospitalization rate does not flatten or decrease in the next several days.
NYPD Commissioner Tells Public To Avoid Times Square For New Year's Eve, Says He Will Get Vaccine
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea urged New Year's revelers to stay home and avoid the traditional visit to Times Square this year due to the pandemic.
"Start making alternate plans, start planning for a nice small event at your house and we'll see you next year," he said on NY1 during an interview on Tuesday morning.
New York state currently prohibits private indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people. All non-essential gatherings are banned in public spaces.
Shea also said that he would be willing to get the vaccine once the city starts distributing it.
"I'll roll up my sleeve and take it to get past this process," he said.
Under New York City's vaccination rollout plan, "high risk" healthcare workers and nursing home staff and residents are due to get the shots first.
Shea said he was not sure when the NYPD would be scheduled for vaccinations.
A recent survey showed that more than half of New York City firefighters said they would not be willing to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Reporting by Andy Mai