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De Blasio: City on track to meet COVID-19 vaccine goals of 5 million doses by June

Mary Lou Russler receives a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine during a community vaccination event in Martinsburg, West Virginia, U.S., March 11, 2021.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city is rounding the corner of delivering almost 3.5 million vaccine doses so far, which hopefully is an indication that they can meet their promised goal of fully vaccinating 5 million New Yorkers by June.

“That is crucial to our recovery for all of us that we get as many people vaccinated as possible as quickly as possible,” said de Blasio in his morning briefing on Wednesday.

The mayor said added that the city is partnering with religious institutions to open new pop-up vaccination sites this week. 

Those sites will be Leviticus Church of God in Jamaica, Queens; Christian Cultural Center in Starrett City and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, and First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, Manhattan.

“Obviously people have a deep sense of connection to the houses of worship in their lives and communities,” said de Blasio. 

“We’ve been doing this over the last few weeks. We’ve found really great success and great efforts by the faith communities to reach out to their congregations and get people to come in. Really reaching the people who previously hadn’t heard about vaccinations or hadn’t got all the answers they wanted,” he added.

As far as reopening the city goes, de Blasio said grassroot efforts to vaccinate and local control remains key to getting New York City back up and running. 

De Blasio has been among many — like Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine — who has somewhat criticized the state for “moving too fast” in their reopening efforts lately. 

Those concerns were further buoyed by city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, who posted updated data Wednesday afternoon about the virus’ spread in the city. 

While cases are far lower than they were during the previous two waves last spring and winter, the 7-day average number of COVID-19 cases per day, as of March 22, stood at 3,282. Of those tested for COVID-19 that same day, Chokshi reported, 6.36% of them came back with positive results.

Moreover, Chokshi stated, “the rate of admissions remains high and is now 3.79 per 100,000 people.”

The Wall Street Journal reported about even cavernous venues like Park Avenue Armory cancelling events due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This is just a clear example of why we need local control,” said de Blasio in Wednesday briefing. “We have some of the best health leaders in all of America right here in New York City and they’ve been consistently clear about the fact that there’s somethings that can be done safely and some things that can’t be at this point especially while we still have the real questions about the variants. The state of New York should really defer to the health leadership in New York City on these matters.”

Meanwhile, in his own daily briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo remarked on plowing ahead with the state’s reopening.

“It’s been a dark cold winter,” said Cuomo about the COVID crisis. “It’s spring now as an attitude.”

He said that the state had to rethink and reimagine what they could be in the future and learn from the crisis. Cuomo said the state has vaccinated a total of 8 million so far.

With reporting by Robert Pozarycki

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