Governor Cuomo: Covid Numbers Going Down

7-Day Average Positivity Rate Drops to 4.38%
7,875 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide
1,412 Patients in the ICU; 971 Intubated
Statewide Positivity Rate is 5.12%
138 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

Governor Cuomo: “The positivity rate is 5.12. The post-holiday surge reduction continues. The 7-day average is 4.3 today, and that’s the lowest 7-day average positivity since December 1.”

Cuomo: “On the vaccinations, we’ve done 2.5 million total doses to date. That means about 10 percent of all New Yorkers have received one dose. We’re at about 92 percent of allocated first doses. So, we’re going week to week, as we’ve discussed on the allocation. And the whole question is the supply. You now have about 10 million New Yorkers waiting on 300,000 doses. Big question on the call with the White House coordinator, by the governors, is supply, supply, supply. When will the supply increase? The supply will really only increase when and if Johnson & Johnson is approved. The Pfizer, Moderna vaccines are ramping up but the ramp-up is relatively slow, so we won’t see a major supply increase from Pfizer and Moderna, nowhere near what we would need to make rapid progress against the 10 million. Johnson & Johnson would be a major and significant increase in production, but that’s over the next two weeks.”

Cuomo: “The White House did announce a 5 percent increase in vaccine allocation and again announced a three-week projection for that allocation, so the allocation will go up about 5 percent to the state and that will be true for three weeks. The 5 percent increase doesn’t sound like much but remember, that’s on top of the first announcement which was 16 percent increase, then the second announcement of 5 percent, so this is a third announcement of 5 percent – 16, plus 5, plus 5, so over the past 3 weeks it has been relatively significant. Again, not proportionate to the need but that has been helpful.”

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 4.38 percent, its lowest since December 1.

AUDIO of today’s remarks is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

Hi, good morning. It’s Andrew. I’m joined by Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Gareth Rhodes, Dr. Zucker. And I want to give you a quick update, because I just got off a meeting with the White House and the Governors. Today is day 346. The positivity rate is 5.12. It’s from the numbers, the post-holiday reduction continues. If you want to be specific, you can say the post-holiday surge reduction continues. The 7-day average is 4.3 today, and that’s the lowest 7-day average positivity since December 1. December 1 really the Thanksgiving infection rate hadn’t really kicked in, so we’re back to where we started on the holiday surge. 138 New Yorkers passed away from COVID yesterday. They are in our thoughts and prayers. The number of hospitalized was up 159 from the prior day. Discharges were lower because the discharges over the weekend are lower. The number of patients in ICU went down 42, the number intubated were up 10.

The 7-day average is what we watch because day to day there’s a lot of fluctuation. These are not random sample tests on a daily basis, so. Positivity by region, Long Island, Long Island, Long Island, 5.36. Mid-Hudson, Mid-Hudson, 5.34. New York City, 5.1, North County, 4.7, Western New York, 4.1, Capital Region, 3.4, Mohawk Valley, 3.1, Finger Lakes, 2.9, Central New York, 1.8, Southern Tier, 1.8. Statewide, 4.3.

In New York City, the Bronx, the Bronx, the Bronx, 6.8. Brooklyn, 5.37, Queens, 5.34, Staten Island, 4.9, Manhattan, 3.2. Someone needs to do a study of the demographics of how this infection rate has traveled. Staten Island is down, and I thank the people of Staten Island, who have changed their behavior and changed the infection rate. But Bronx, first, then Brooklyn, then Queens, then Staten Island, then Manhattan.

On the vaccinations, we’ve done 2.5 million total doses to date. That means about 10 percent of all New Yorkers have received one dose. We’re at about 92 percent of allocated first doses. So we’re going week to week, as we’ve discussed on the allocation. And the whole question is the supply. You now have about 10 million New Yorkers waiting on 300,000 doses. Big question on the call with the White House coordinator, by the governors, is supply, supply, supply. When will the supply increase? The supply will really only increase when and if Johnson & Johnson is approved. The Pfizer, Moderna vaccines are ramping up but the ramp-up is relatively slow, so we won’t see a major supply increase from Pfizer and Moderna, nowhere near what we would need to make rapid progress against the 10 million. Johnson & Johnson would be a major and significant increase in production, but that’s over the next two weeks. We’ll get more information on that.

The White House did announce a 5 percent increase in vaccine allocation and again announced a three-week projection for that allocation, so the allocation will go up about 5 percent to the state and that will be true for three weeks. The three weeks is a big deal from a planning point of view because the State did not know what they were getting next week literally until a couple of days before. We would then turn around and tell the counties and then the counties would say, well, I had no notice. I know because I had no notice, but the three-wee projection actually helps that.

The 5 percent increase doesn’t sound like much but remember, that’s on top of the first announcement which was 16 percent increase, then the second announcement of 5 percent, so this is a third announcement of 5 percent – 16, plus 5, plus 5, so over the past 3 weeks it has been relatively significant. Again, not proportionate to the need but that has been helpful.

The federal government also announced that they would directly allocate to some, what they call federally qualified community health centers in the state, and that allocation would be above and beyond the State allocation and that would be a direct allocation from the federal government. They’re doing a million nationwide, but that should be a couple of extra percent. It doesn’t go through the State. It goes directly to the federally qualified community health centers. The federal government also runs a program directly to the pharmacies which was announced last week, so you have the State allocation, you then have on top of that a federal program that goes directly to the pharmacies, this week they added a federal program that goes directly to FQCHCs, and you had pre-existing a federal program that provided the vaccines to the nursing homes through pharmacies. So it gets complicated – you have the State-run program, then federal program to pharmacies, then federal program to pharmacies for nursing homes, and now a federal program to the community health centers – four levels for those of you who are tracking it.

They also announced and discussed, they are adamantly opposed to using second does for first doses. Several health people have suggested that. The CDC and the FDA, Dr. Fauci publicly said over the weekend that they are opposed strongly to using second doses for first doses, that the second doses must be available for Pfizer and Moderna when they were supposed to be available – three weeks after the first dose for Pfizer, four weeks after the first dose for Moderna, and that is their position, and it was a strongly held position.

There is discussion about reallocating unused vaccines. We have an unused allocation in the federal nursing home program, the Long Term Health Care Facility program, where the federal government contracted with CVS, Walgreens, et cetera, to do the nursing homes. That program has been slower than anticipated and we believe it was overallocated, so we will be reallocating doses from that program into the general state allocation, and we’re going to work to determine how much that is, but those are excess unused doses. And those are those they don’t need for that program.

On the second dose program, if there are any unused vaccines, we can reallocate those. Unused on the second dose program means a person never showed up for their second dose. And this gets complicated too. If a person does not show up for their second dose, either three weeks on Pfizer or four weeks on Moderna, the state must keep it available for 42 days. In other words, on Pfizer you’re supposed to come back on day 21; On Moderna, you’re supposed to come back on day 28. If someone doesn’t come back on day 21 or day 28, you must hold the vaccine for them until day 42. After day 42, you could use that dose for someone else. Forty-two days is also close to the date of the expiration of the vaccine, so if it’s not used it would expire, but if that person comes back for the second dose, whenever they come back, you have to find a second dose for that person, even if it’s after 42 days. So, frankly, from a numeric point of view, I don’t think that’s going to be consequential but the reallocation from the Long Term Health Care Program could be consequential, that could be in the tens of thousands of doses, so we’re working on that also.

We talked about winter storms. We were right. The winter storms are continuing. New York City should see about three inches. We’ve deployed equipment all across the state. Six inches of snow in the Tug Hill region and five to six inches in the Capital Region, higher terrains in the Hudson Valley. The state has deployed assets.