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No time to relax

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye and Interim MTA New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg announce the launch of a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination center for MTA employees at 130 Livingston St. on Tue., February 23, 2021. Chairman Foye and several employees received their first vaccine.
Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

More than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in New York state, including more than 100,000 in New York City on April 2 alone.
Vaccine eligibility is opening up at last, with all New Yorkers being eligible for the shots as of Tuesday, April 6. Life is slowly returning back to a normal state, as evidenced by the reopening of comedy clubs at 33% capacity and the return of fans to Yankee Stadium, though again, at limited capacity.
Yet COVID-19 continues to be at a high rate in New York City. As of April 2, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the 7-day positivity rate in the five boroughs was 6.64%. Hospitalizations are down, but there were still 199 of them as of Friday. The number of cases are down — another 2,205 of them on Friday alone — but that number is still high.
So what’s going on here? There seems to be two issues from our standpoint.
First, the number of variant cases of COVID-19 are a problem. The city’s Health Department said that 70% of the new COVID-19 cases involve variants rather than “classic COVID.” These variants tend to be on the more contagious side, and that means more people will be infected if exposed.
The other problem seems to be much less testing. In an analysis of COVID-19 Health Department data between March 23-29, we found that the positivity rates were quite high in areas where test rates have plummeted. 
The higher rates of COVID-19 are a temporary problem. The numbers will come down eventually, especially as the vaccine makes its way into more arms. 
Yet no one should relax as of yet. The virus remains a danger until we reach a point where most New Yorkers have the protection the vaccine provides. 
We believe the next month will be pivotal. Opening up eligibility is going to significantly boost the vaccination rate, and the vaccine supply will continue to grow. With any luck, by mid-May, the higher rates of COVID-19 might finally be behind us.
The end of the nightmare is close. For just a little longer, mask up, stay safe and keep COVID-19 at bay.

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