Today, drug maker Pfizer announced early data from Coronavirus vaccine trials that the vaccine it is developing is more than 90 percent effective. This is great news. But until a vaccine becomes a daily reality we must continue to be cautious. Until then, our job stays the same: Stop the spread.
Each and every one of us.
This tasks is as crucial now as it is difficult. Unfortunately, we expect COVID cases to continue to rise this fall and winter. We are in a new, extremely difficult phase of this pandemic, and we must continue to safeguard our health and the health of our community by following the simple steps we know to be effective. It's been months. We all have COVID fatigue but we cannot give in. As our national numbers climb, New Yorkers must respond with more commitment to wearing masks, distancing and doing all we can to stop this powerful virus.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. We have made modifications to existing micro-clusters and added new ones. The Red Zone in Brooklyn changes to an Orange Precautionary Zone and there are new Yellow Zones in Erie County, Monroe County and Onondaga County, in areas of those counties that met the threshold for establishing these new zones. More information and the maps of current cluster zones can be found here.
2. The positivity rate in the micro-cluster focus areas was 4.32 percent yesterday. The statewide positivity rate excluding these areas was 2.69 percent. Of the 111,416 tests reported yesterday, 3,144, or 2.82 percent, were positive. Total hospitalizations were at 1,444. Sadly, we lost 26 New Yorkers to the virus.
3. It took just ten days for total COVID cases in the US to go from nine million to ten million. Unfortunately, the virus is surging across the country, almost without exception. The accelerating rate of new cases is especially worrying. I know we are all tired, but once again, we must treat this crisis with the seriousness it calls for.
4. A Long Island country club lost its liquor license after hosting an illegal, super-spreader wedding. As we have seen time and time again, large gatherings can unfortunately turn into super-spreader events. The State Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license for the North Fork Country Club following a wedding which violated pandemic-related guidance. A total of 113 guests attended—more than double the number allowed—leading to 34 COVID-19 infections, and scores of people in quarantine. New York will not tolerate illegal and dangerous mass gatherings.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": In Savannah, Georgia, six-year-old Bethany is helping the homeless in her neighborhood. In 2019, at age five, she started "Bethany's Happy Bags for the Homeless," which distributes bags with items that homeless people might need, such as protein bars, first aid, toiletries and more. Bethany's work has continued throughout the pandemic and it turns out that compassion runs in the family. Bethany's aunt, Patricia, from Poughkeepsie, New York, volunteers for her local Medical Reserve Corps and serves as an EMT.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo