As COVID-19 cases continue to drop in many parts of the country, officials in New York City, which accounted for the brunt of the nation’s cases and deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, have announced that the city plans to be fully open by Jul 1.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNBC that New Yorkers’ vaccine uptake is making this possible. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” de Blasio said. Approximately 36% of the city’s adult population is fully vaccinated.
de Blasio shared that Broadway is on track to fully open by September, and by July, bars, restaurants, gyms, and smaller theaters can expect to operate at 100% capacity. Since last March, New York City has tracked almost 1 million cases, 925,347, with 32,513 deaths.
Earlier this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted a restriction limiting seating at bars, and both indoor and outdoor dining curfews are set to expire by the end of May.
Yesterday, the United States tracked 54,026 new COVID-19 cases and 948 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total 32,268,569 cases have been recorded in the United States, including 574,853 deaths.
Colleges, Republicans push vaccinations
More than 100 colleges and universities have now made vaccination a requirement for in-person attendance during the fall 2021 semester, according to a New York Times survey. More than 660,000 COVID-19 cases have been linked to colleges since the start of the pandemic.
Most colleges requiring vaccination are private, but the University of Maryland system announced it will require that students and staff be vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data tracker shows that 305,478,495 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 237,360,493 have been administered, with 99,668,945 Americans fully vaccinated.
Young adults are the focus of current vaccination efforts. Another group currently being targeted by Republican lawmakers is the political right, whose members are more likely than their left-leaning peers to display vaccine hesitancy.
A group of Republican doctors and healthcare providers in Congress launched a public service campaign this week to encourage COVID-19 vaccine participation among constituents, Roll Call reports. Polling shows that Republican voters have some of the highest rates of vaccine skepticism of any demographic in the country.
According to a recent poll from CBS and YouGov, over half of conservatives said they would not get a vaccine or were still undecided.
The group is led by Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall. In the public service announcement, released earlier this week, members of Congress address some of their constituents’ fears: “Operation Warp Speed brought us safe and effective vaccines in record time,” the doctors say. “The [Food and Drug Administration] did not skip any steps. Instead, they cut bureaucratic red tape — not corners — and they got the job done in record time.”
Pfizer CEO touts new oral COVID drug
Finally today, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC that the company’s experimental oral drug to treat COVID-19 at the first sign of illness could be available by the end of the year.
The company began an early-stage clinical for the drug in March. The antiviral pill, a protease inhibitor, is meant to be taken at home and is similar to treatments currently used to treat HIV and hepatitis C.