Today we celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. New York will relentlessly continue his battle for justice.
We publish today to share important updates. As of this morning, New York State has now administered over one million total doses: 903,131 first doses and 103,747 second doses. The pace of vaccination is rapidly accelerating. If the Federal Government can increase supply, we are ready to inoculate New Yorkers and scale up the vaccine distribution.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. Tomorrow, I will present the Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget. This year's budget proposal will help set our agenda for the year ahead. The presentation will be live-streamed tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19, at 11:30am ET, at governor.ny.gov.
2. Total hospitalizations rose 8,868. Of the 186,205 tests reported yesterday, 12,185, or 6.54 percent, were positive. There were 1,523 patients in ICU yesterday, down 27 from the previous day. Of them, 997 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 153 New Yorkers to the virus. While hospitalizations are still rising, it's encouraging to see that the rate of increase has slowed significantly.
3. I have asked Pfizer if New York can directly purchase vaccine doses from them. Since Pfizer is not bound to commitments that are a part of Operation Warp Speed, I have asked Pfizer, a New York-based company, if they will sell vaccine doses directly to New York State. Read the letter here.
4. I issued a letter demanding U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explain his false claim that vaccine doses in reserve would be shipped to states. In case you missed it, last week the Federal Government told not just New York, but all fifty states, that vaccine doses that had been "held in physical reserve" would be shipped to states. This came as welcome news, as federal supply of the vaccine is extremely limited. But it turned out that this was false. These doses had already been distributed to the states. Whether this was an act of incompetence or an act of intentional falsehood, New York and the public deserve a full accounting.
5. The Statewide positivity rate has come down—but we should still be very cautious. The post-holiday spike that we anticipated has declined (see chart above), but the more contagious UK variant is in New York State and represents a serious risk to our hospital system and all New Yorkers. Continue to be vigilant and wear a mask, social distance and avoid gatherings.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Over the weekend, the Buffalo Bills defeated the Baltimore Ravens to head to the AFC Championship—the first time since 1994. During the game, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was injured, but Bills fans pooled together and donated a total of $150,000 to Jackson's charity "Blessings in a Backpack," to help provide kids with food. New Yorkers are tough but they're also loving and this was a perfect example of that spirit. And thank you to BioReference for another successful weekend to allow fans to attend this weekend's game safely.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo