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COVID-19 infections keep falling in New York state, Cuomo says – in email, not briefing

Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn't held a press briefing since Feb. 22, 2021.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

The second wave of COVID-19 continues to ebb in New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday — though he made that declaration through a press release, not at a press conference.

The single-day positivity rate for New York state was 2.82% on Feb. 25 — the lowest number since Nov. 21, 2020. The 7-day positivity rate was also 3.22%, a number not seen since Nov. 26 of last year.

Hospitalizations were also down significantly, with 5,626 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. of those hospitalized, 1,132 were in intensive care, and another 771 were on intubation.

New York City’s numbers continue to improve. The 7-day positivity rate for the five boroughs was down to 4.2% on Thursday, with the Bronx continuing to have the highest number at 5.78%. That’s followed by Queens at 4.8%, Brooklyn at 4.72%, Staten Island at 4.62% and Manhattan at 2.8%.

Sadly, another 95 New York state residents died of COVID-19 on Feb. 25. That includes 13 in the Bronx, 12 in Brooklyn, 15 in Manhattan, 13 in Queens and one on Staten Island.

Also on Friday, Cuomo announced that the state had administered 179,038 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the last 24 hours, establishing a new record in the inoculation effort. So far, 91% of the first dose supply has been delivered to health care distribution sites across New York, with more doses anticipated in the days and weeks to come.

Cuomo also declared that the state would work with local health departments to create new COVID-19 vaccine sites specifically for seniors 65 years of age and older — the population segment among the most vulnerable to the virus.

But the governor did not make these announcements at one of his weekly press briefings (he generally holds them Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). In fact, Cuomo hasn’t held a formal press conference since Monday, Feb. 22.

Aside from a video message at a National Governors Association meeting Thursday, his most recent public event was at York College in Jamaica, Queens on the morning of Feb. 24 to announce the opening of a new mass vaccination site.

His original public schedule for Feb. 24 had indicated that Cuomo would “hold a COVID update with Q&A later in the day,” but that appearance never took place. That afternoon, former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan disclosed in a Medium post detailed claims that the governor had sexually harassed her when she worked for him. Cuomo administration officials denied her claims.

Cuomo had also been heavily quizzed by reporters during recent press conferences and conference calls about his administration’s handling of COVID-19 nursing home death data. The governor had admitted that his team created a “void” in communicating the information that wound up being exploited by political opponents and conspiracy theorists. He insisted, however, there was no wrongdoing.

The admission came after state Attorney General Letitia James issued a report on an investigation which found that the state Health Department undercounted the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing home. Additionally, a bombshell tabloid report further disclosed that Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa apologized to lawmakers for a delay in providing them with the data in order to fulfill a federal request for it — leading to further allegations of a coverup.

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