COVID News: Gov. Hochul urges New Yorkers to get vaccinated as holidays approach

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Hochul urges New Yorkers to vaccinate as holidays loom
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Jim Dolan has more on Kathy Hochul's concerns over the COVID pandemic as the holidays quickly appraoch.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As the holiday travel season looms, New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday was clearly frustrated that some still refuse to get the vaccine that can safeguard their own families.

She implored people to look back just one year -- before there was a vaccine.

Thanksgiving weekend in 2019, before the pandemic started, was the biggest travel weekend ever. More than 2.5 million Americans traveled. But last year, with a nation on pandemic lockdown, just half a million left people home. This year, the nation will see record travel, but at what cost?

Governor Hochul was in Western New York, where the vaccination rate is low and the transmission rate is high, encouraging people to get vaccinated, but also encouraging adults who did to get boosters.

She blamed the rising numbers of infections, hospitalizations and even deaths due to COVID on those who are unvaccinated, calling them holdouts who are keeping the pandemic alive.

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:

Pfizer asks FDA for emergency authorization of pill

Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to authorize its experimental pill for COVID-19, setting the stage for a likely launch of the promising therapy in the coming weeks.

Revelers in Times Square must be fully vaccinated for New Year's Eve ball drop

Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with the Times Square Alliance, announced new details about this year's New Year's Eve celebration and ball drop. Revelers ages 5 and up must be fully vaccinated. Revelers must also bring proof of vaccination and a valid ID cards. Tom Harris the President of the Times Square Alliance said those who are under age 5 must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult. Also, those unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons will be required to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event. Also, masks will be required.

NYC to offer 2nd dose of COVID vaccine at public schools

Amid overwhelming demand, New York City officials announced Tuesday that they will resume administering COVID-19 vaccines at public schools and will also be offering second doses starting November 30. Vaccine clinics for 5- to 11-year-olds had initially been scheduled through Monday, but they will resume Wednesday after nearly a third of newly eligible children were vaccinated at public school sites "in just a few days."

"We are going to be going back to some of the highest demand school sites," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Any place where there was high demand, we are going to keep sending our mobile vaccination units, keep making sure we can reach parents and kids who want to get vaccinated."

NY, NJ now urging COVID booster shots for all adults who want them

Go ahead and get your COVID booster shots! That's the message now from leaders in New York and New Jersey, as both states are shifting from CDC recommendations and advising all adult residents to get the extra dose if they want it. The move comes amid an uptick of cases in New York, which is now reporting a positivity rate of more than 3% and nearly 2,000 hospitalizations.

Pfizer to allow broader global access to its experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill

Pfizer said Tuesday it signed a licensing agreement to allow broader global access to its experimental COVID-19 pill. The agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed public health organization, would allow generic manufacturers to make the pill widely available in 95 low- and middle-income countries covering 53% of the world's population, the company said. The pill, known as PF-07321332 or Paxlovid, is to be given in combination with an older antiviral drug called ritonavir.

U.S. child cases up 22% in 2 weeks

The United States has seen an increase in weekly pediatric COVID-19 cases. According to a new report, more than 122,000 child cases were added over the last week. That's an increase of about 22% from two weeks ago. This marks the 14th consecutive week child COVID cases are above 100,000.

Vaccinated families can 'feel good' about gathering for holidays, Fauci says

If you and your family are vaccinated against COVID-19, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday gave the thumbs up on gathering for the holidays. Fauci warned that cases are still high, so people should wear masks when they're out and about in the community and around groups of people in indoor settings.

"If you get vaccinated and your family's vaccinated, you can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving, Christmas with your family and close friends," Fauci, who is also director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview on Monday hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. "But when you're with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents. There's no reason not to do that."

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