NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York has surpassed 30,000 deaths related to COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
The state reported an additional 136 deaths, bringing the statewide total to 30,040.
There are now 7,935 patients being treated for the coronavirus in New York hospitals.
"Yes, the vaccine is here and yes, we are laser focused on ensuring hospitals do not become overwhelmed, but we cannot lose sight of our collective responsibility to slow the spread. As we begin 2021 and look forward to brighter days ahead, let us all use this time to celebrate smart and recommit ourselves to doing what we know works - wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and socially distancing - so we can win this war and finally put this invisible enemy to rest once and for all," Cuomo said in a statement.
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Suffolk officials urging small New Year's Eve celebrations amid COVID
Suffolk County officials on Thursday urged residents to keep their New Year's Eve celebrations small due to rising coronavirus numbers.
"I'm urging Suffolk County residents tonight to keep those gatherings to a minimum," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
On Wednesday, Suffolk County reported it's highest one day increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, which brought the county-wide infection rate to 12.8 percent. The number dropped on Thursday to 10.5 percent.
US adds record death count for 2nd consecutive day
The United States reported another single-day record high in COVID deaths for the second consecutive day, with the 3,744 deaths reported Wednesday surpassing the previous 3,725 deaths reported Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. As the year 2020 soon comes to an end, the new tally puts the December death toll above 73,000 with more than 6 million confirmed cases. A reported 125,220 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, another national record, making December by far the worst month on record for cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. At least 342,734 lives have been lost to COVID-19 in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, representing approximately 18.9% of the total global death toll of 1.8 million people.
NYC vaccine goal, Day of Remembrance announced
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday revealed one resolution he has for the New Year and announced a Day of Remembrance for New Yorkers who lost their lives due to COVID. He said NYC's goal is to vaccinate 1 million people by the end of January.
"The most important New Year's resolution I could possibly offer you in the month of January 2021, we will vaccinate one million New Yorkers," de Blasio said. "This city can do it. The amazing health care professionals of this city are ready."
De Blasio also announced a Day of Remembrance to honor those who died from coronavirus. He declared Sunday, March 14, 2021, as the official date. March 14 is the day the first person died of coronavirus in the city.
Fired employee deliberately spoiled COVID-19 vaccine, Wisconsin health system says
A Wisconsin health system official said Wednesday that 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine that had to be discarded after they were left unrefrigerated now appear to have been deliberately spoiled by an employee. Aurora Medical Center first reported on the spoiled doses on Saturday, and said they had been accidentally left out overnight by an employee at their facility in Grafton. In a statement late Wednesday, Aurora said the employee involved "today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration." Aurora's statement said they had fired the employee and referred the matter to authorities for further investigation. Their statement said nothing about a possible motive for the action, and health system officials didn't immediately respond to messages seeking more information.
McConnell says Congress has provided enough pandemic aid
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but shut the door on President Donald Trump's push for $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks, declaring Congress has provided enough pandemic aid as he blocked another attempt by Democrats to force a vote. The GOP leader made clear Wednesday he is unwilling to budge, despite political pressure from Trump and even some fellow Republican senators demanding action. Trump wants the recent $600 in aid increased threefold. But McConnell dismissed the idea of bigger "survival checks" approved by the House, saying the money would go to plenty of American households that just don't need it. McConnell's refusal to act means the additional relief Trump wanted is all but dead.
TSA screens more than 1 million passengers for 5th straight day
The TSA says it screened more than one million passengers at airport checkpoints for a fifth straight day Wednesday. Officials said it was the third busiest day since the coronavirus pandemic began, with more than 1.1 million passengers screened nationwide. The TSA says checkpoint traffic has exceeded a million people nine days out of the last two weeks.
Papa John's sets aside $2.5M to give bonuses to frontline workers
Papa John's employees are getting a holiday bonus. The pizza chain's frontline workers, 14,000 of them, are being rewarded for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Papa John's allocated $2.5 million for the special year-end bonuses. The company said its employees' dedication and great customer service were key to the company's success during a difficult time. The pizza giant said it also hired 30,000 new team members in 2020--many who lost their previous jobs due to the pandemic.
Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on 'Gilligan's Island,' dies of COVID-19 at 82
Dawn Wells, best known for her role as on the classic sitcom "Gilligan's Island," died Wednesday from complications related to COVID-19. She was 82.
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