The federal government has informed us that New York will be getting its first 170,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks. If all safety and efficacy approvals are granted, we expect to receive these vaccines doses—from the New York pharmaceutical company Pfizer—on December 15. The State expects additional doses of both the Pfizer-developed vaccine and the Moderna-developed vaccine this month.
Following FDA approval, the NY COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force will look at the data and provide an additional level of review to the vaccine. This review will not delay distribution of the vaccine and will simply be another safety measure that ensures we can all trust in the vaccine.
The COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force is made up of health experts and medical professionals and is co-chaired by Dr. Charles Rice, the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Healthcare workers and nursing home residents will be the first groups of people to receive the vaccine. For most New Yorkers, though, the vaccine is still months away—and we are faced with a set of challenges to overcome before we get it.
Hospitalizations are climbing across the state, and holiday social activity is certain to worsen this trend. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but in the winter we must fight harder than ever to slow the spread and save lives.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. The statewide positivity rate dropped slightly to 4.63 percent yesterday. There were 8,973 positive cases from 193,551 tests reported yesterday. The positivity rate in the micro-cluster focus areas was 5.88 percent. Excluding these areas, it was 4.21 percent.
2. Total hospitalizations rose to 3,924. There were 742 patients in ICU yesterday, up 24 from the previous day. Of them, 373 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 69 New Yorkers to the virus.
3. Starting next week, I will resume holding scheduled COVID briefings. Instead of daily briefings, this time the briefings will be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Briefings are always streamed online at ny.gov, and are additionally broadcast on Twitter and Facebook Live.
4. We are seeing an alarming rise in COVID cases that trace back to "living room spread." New York's latest contact tracing data shows that 70 percent of new COVID-19 cases originate from households and small gatherings. Today, the State released a new PSA highlighting the dangers of COVID spread in these smaller, indoor settings. Watch the PSA here.
5. We've seen a 262 percent increase in hospitalizations in Western NY over the past three weeks. Even though the region continues to have the highest positivity rate in the state, hospitalizations are increasing across all of New York's significantly. I implore all New Yorkers to please follow health guidelines—wear a mask, socially distance, get tested, wash your hands and stop the spread.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Thanksgiving is a tradition that can be celebrated by all members of the American family—including canine and feline members. Last week, Rob and Hillary Dunn of Utica, NY, served "Thanksgiving dinners" to around 80 dogs and 150 cats at the Stevens Swan Humane Society. Each dog received a vet-approved plate of white turkey meat (no bones), canned sodium-free green beans, and canned pumpkin. The couple prepared the meals in the days leading up to the holiday, doing their best to make as many meals for the animals as possible. Visit the animal shelter's website here and learn about the animals up for adoption.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo