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Rise in cases in NY, on LI continues amid national vaccine push

As the COVID positivity rate ticks back up

As the COVID positivity rate ticks back up across New York State, Long Islanders are wary of a COVID comeback. Steve Langford reports. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman

More than 1,000 New Yorkers tested positive for coronavirus for the second straight day Saturday as the state experiences its highest daily virus spikes since May, state statistics showed Sunday.

The increase comes as federal officials continue to warn about the dangers of the surging delta variant, a highly transmissible strain, among unvaccinated Americans.

Some 1,142 New Yorkers tested positive for coronavirus Saturday, and 1,156 tested positive for the virus on Friday, the highest tallies since May 21, according to state data.

On Long Island, the number of new positive cases was 99 in Nassau, down slightly from 106 on Friday. There were 80 new virus cases in Suffolk on Saturday, up from 75 the day before, according to the state's data.

Two people died of COVID-19 in New York, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office.

In a statement Sunday, Cuomo called on unvaccinated New Yorkers to get immunized.

"New Yorkers have fought COVID-19 every single step of the way during this pandemic, but there's one final push we have to make, and that's the need for everyone to get vaccinated," Cuomo said. "Getting shots in arms is key to our success against this terrible virus, and if you haven't gotten yours yet, I urge you to make an appointment or walk into one of the many sites we have across the state. Help yourself, your family and your community by getting your shot today."

The state's positivity rate, as averaged over 7 days, was 1.26% Saturday, up from 1.19% the day before. As a point of comparison, the 7-day positivity rate was 0.35% on June 23. The positivity rate for Saturday statewide was 1.51%.

The positivity rate on Long Island was 1.47% on Saturday. That's up from 1.37% on Friday and 1.28% on Thursday, according to the state data.

Health experts have expressed alarm about the spike in virus cases among unvaccinated individuals.

Across the country governors, senators and federal officials are urging unvaccinated Americans to consider changing their minds.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison, a Republican, recently embarked on a vaccine tour, holding informational sessions and appearing sympathetic to the concerns of vaccine skeptics who don't trust the government.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on CNN Sunday that he was "worried for what is to come" if more Americans succumb to the highly contagious delta variant.

Murthy also called on Americans to consider the health threats to children under 12 years, who are unable to get vaccinated.

"We have to still protect our children under 12 who don't have a vaccine available to them," he said on ABC's "This Week" program on Sunday. "Our kids depend on the people around them being protected, being vaccinated in order to shield them from the virus. And that's why, again, it's so important for us to get vaccinated."

Over the weekend the Biden administration criticized social-media companies for what the president said was their responsibility for spreading misinformation about the virus on their influential platforms.

"They’re killing people," he said Friday outside the White House, when asked what his message was for social-media platforms. "Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that — and they’re killing people," Biden said.