Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday morning that six million New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The mayor credited this milestone to his incentive programs and mandates. Last month, de Blasio enforced the ‘Key to NYC’ program, which requires people have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter any indoor business. Since this program went into effect, vaccine rates have increased by 9%.
“This is a staggering figure, this is how we’re coming back,” de Blasio said. “When you look around the country you see other places that are struggling, and I feel horrible for them, but in a lot of cases, it’s because their leaders didn’t do the right thing and didn’t focus on vaccination. Here, together, we did.”
De Blasio said there are only about a million adults left to be vaccinated.
“The incentives, the mandates, everything’s working,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to keep moving on that number. We got more work to do, but we can get there.”
De Blasio also mentioned he will not be enforcing a vaccine mandate for children ages 5 to 11 as the FDA moves forward on approval.
“Our priority is having kids in school,” de Blasio said. “We’re not going to exclude a child, because a lot went a year and a half without being in a classroom. We’re not excluding them based on the decisions their parents made— we need them in school.”
The hospitalization rate is at 0.69%. There are 957 newly reported cases on the seven-day average.
As de Blasio touted the new data points, he mentioned the return of the 14th annual NYC Wine and Food Festival starting today.
The festival will feature intimate dinners, walk-around tastings, and over 80 events including parties and masterclasses. The festival starts today and ends Sunday, Oct. 17.
The four-day event showcases the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers and world-famous chefs while donating all proceeds to support New Yorkers struggling with severe illness and food insecurity through God’s Love We Deliver and Food Bank For New York City.
Throughout the years, this festival has raised over $14 million to help New Yorkers in need. Tickets are available at nycwff.org.
Rocco DiSpirito, an award-winning chef and participant in the event, said that 45,000 people are expected to join the Wine and Food Festival. DiSpirito thanked de Blasio for all the work he put into getting the city ready to hold this event safely.
“There’s a lot of hard work to do but there’s a lot of optimism in the food community,” DiSpirito said. “I think people are looking forward to everyone coming back and getting back to whatever normal was. There are a lot of people in restaurants, they’re spending money again, they’re having fun and I think there’s a lot more to come.”