Cuomo hints at easing COVID-19 restrictions soon as New York sees infections fall, vaccinations rise

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Visits  NYCHA Vaccine Pop-Up Site in Brooklyn
January 23, 2021 – Brooklyn –Governor Andrew M. Cuomo., joined by Henry R. Munoz of Somos Community Care and United States Congress persons Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clark, visit a NYCHA Vaccine Pop-Up Site at the William Reid Apartments in Brooklyn Saturday January 23, 2021. Over seven million New Yorkers are now eligible for the vaccine. Eligible groups include doctors, nurses and health care workers, people age 65 and over, first responders, teachers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and public safety workers. (Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

With the overall infection rate across the state on the decline and 72% of healthcare workers having received the COVID-19 vaccine – compared to 63% last week – Governor Andrew Cuomo says some restrictions may be lifted in the near future.

During a Monday press conference, Cuomo said the post-holiday spike that he warned of repeatedly throughout November, December and early January has begun to fade, and the state is lobbying the Biden administration for an increased vaccine supply above the 250,000 doses allotted per week from the federal government.

In the past week, the statewide infection rate has gone from nearly 8% to 5.47%, the state reported.

“We’re working on three tracks, simultaneously, if you will. First, keep the spread down, control COVID. That’s obviously the national priority. Second, vaccinate New Yorkers. And third, get on with life rebuild the economy get back to work,” Cuomo said. “This is unsustainable, the situation that we’re in. There was never a choice between public health and reopening the economy, you have to do both, but you have to do it intelligently on controlling the COVID spread the good news is the numbers are down.”

With 3,000 distribution sites through different providers, Cuomo said the state is still standing by for an increase in supply which his fluctuated from 300,000 doses every week to 250,000 more recently. Cuomo plans on using his position as the chair of the National Governor Association to push for a higher allocation from the federal government.

Mass vaccination sites, many operated by the National Guard could be giving out up to 10,000 shots per day. The state has used 91% of the vaccine doses it has received to date, but consistency in weekly deliveries has been inconsistent, Cuomo said.

“So, I’m out today, effectively, I’m waiting now for the vaccine. There are some states that are not out, and that they’re working on previous allocations,” the governor added. “How does the administration balance that nationwide, so it’s complicated. I’m talking to them about it, we’re going to have a meeting this tomorrow with all the governors.”

The promise for lifting restrictions, however, was not promising for indoor dining in New York City.

Cuomo reiterated later that dining would need to remain outdoors for the foreseeable future, while any changes to the economy would be considered based on micro-cluster zones designated orange and yellow.

“That’s what we’re focusing on and that’s what I was talking about. The indoor dining in New York City is a New York City-specific condition. And we’re not, at this point, contemplating any changes,” Cuomo added.

On Sunday, 167 New Yorkers died from the virus.