Today, history was made when Sandra Lindsay, a frontline ICU nurse and New Yorker, became the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a non-trial setting. Sandra received the vaccination at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens. After her vaccination, I asked Sandra over Zoom how she felt and what she wanted to say to her fellow Americans.
"I am hopeful. I feel hope today—relieved. I feel like healing is coming and this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We're in a pandemic and so we all need to do our part to put an end to the pandemic, and to not give up so soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we still need to continue to wear our masks, to social distance. I believe in science. As a nurse, my practice is guided by science and so I trust that. What I don't trust is that, if I contract COVID, I don't know how it would impact me or those who I come in contact with, so I encourage everyone to take the vaccine."
Her words speak for themselves.
She's absolutely right: Healing is coming. Thank you
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. Total COVID hospitalizations rose to 5,712. Of the 159,844 tests reported yesterday, 9,044, or 5.66 percent, were positive. There were 1,040 patients in ICU yesterday, up 31 from the previous day. Of them, 572 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 83 New Yorkers to the virus.
2. Hospitalizations could approximately double in one month if the current rate of growth continues. The fall and winter surge could lead to 11,000 people hospitalized with COVID and 3,500 additional fatalities in a month if the current rate continues. Please take this threat seriously. Yes, we have a vaccine—but we must be cautious and diligent in the days ahead to slow the spread as the vaccine distribution ramps up.
3. The Finger Lakes region, with 681 hospitalizations, has the highest rate of COVID hospitalization by population. Hospitalizations in the Finger Lakes represent 0.06 percent of the region's population. Western New York has 526 hospitalizations (0.04 percent of its population); Central New York has 340 hospitalizations (0.04 percent); Mohawk Valley has 193 hospitalizations (0.04 percent); Long Island has 935 hospitalizations (0.03 percent); the Mid-Hudson has 705 hospitalizations (0.03 percent); the Capital Region has 269 hospitalizations (0.02 percent); and New York City has 1,857 hospitalizations (0.02 percent). The North Country, with 53 hospitalizations (0.01 percent), has the lowest rate of hospitalizations due to COVID.
4. Today, New York announced updated micro-cluster focus zones. The Yellow Zone in Niagara County will be expanded. A new Yellow Zone will be added near Batavia, Genesse County, and another will be added near Rome and Utica, Oneida County—following these areas meeting the metrics for Yellow Zone designation. See all cluster zones and look up your address on our interactive map.
5. When you're indoors with people outside of your household, remember to wear a mask. Contact tracing data shows that 74 percent of COVID cases where the cause is known can be traced to small gatherings and the household. The CDC is urging—as are we—that you wear a mask indoors whenever you are with people that you don't live with, in both public and private settings.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Adam Shrager, who teaches statistics at the College of New Jersey, received a moving surprise from his students on the last day of remote learning before final exams. When Shrager started the lesson, all of the students had their cameras off, which was unusual, but slowly the students turned their cameras on revealing an array of thank-you messages from the students. The display of gratitude from Shrager's students soon went viral.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo