Good Morning
Good Morning

NY's 'massive undertaking' for a vaccine

NY task force to review vaccine options

Cuomo announced the appointment of a 16-person vaccine distribution and implementation task force, led by the State Health Department.

It would first study the efficacy of the vaccine, he said — citing the Trump administration's "politicized" implementation of the process — and then administer the state's eventual distribution of the drug.

"I am not going to trust the federal government's opinion and I wouldn't recommend to New Yorkers based on the federal government's opinion," Cuomo said. "New York State will have its own review when the federal government is finished with their review and says it's safe."

If the state panel determines a vaccine is safe, Cuomo said the committee — which includes Michael Dowling, president and chief executive of the Long Island-based Northwell Health — will determine how to purchase, store and distribute the drug to 19.5 million state residents.

Meanwhile, more Long Island schools announced closures because of positive tests. As of Thursday afternoon:

  • Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School was closed Thursday and students will participate in remote instruction due to a staff member testing positive.
  • Northport High School was also closed Thursday after a positive test from a student who hasn't been inside the building since Sept. 17.
  • Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School in Greenlawn, part of the Harborfields school system, temporarily shifted to full remote learning Wednesday after a student tested positive.

The number of new positives reported today: 46 in Nassau, 33 in Suffolk, 424 in New York City and 955 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new coronavirus cases confirmed each day this month. Search a map of cases, and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Kings Park restaurants bring heat to outdoor dining

Some Kings Park restaurants have started using patio heaters for outdoor dining as the weather shifts to cooler temperatures.

The Smithtown Town Council extended emergency permitting for restaurants to serve food and drinks at outdoor tables through December. Since town and Kings Park Chamber of Commerce officials made the announcement last Thursday, 15 patio heaters have been delivered to eight hamlet restaurants. The Kings Park Chamber of Commerce paid for the heaters with a $5,000 grant from PSEG.

At Cafe Red, owner Nora Garcia said she set up a heater next to the entrance to her outdoor dining area last week, and it was a hit.

"People were happy — they were so comfy," she said. With space for 24 diners inside and 26 outside, she said her restaurant was actually busier than it was before the pandemic, though she worried about how very cold temperatures could affect her staff.

Private school educators: Adapting to pandemic is key

Long Island private and parochial schools are adapting to meet increased demand for their services during the pandemic, school leaders said Wednesday night during a Newsday virtual forum.

Many are offering five-day-a-week in-person instruction, a step some Long Island public school districts have yet to take.

Some of the private schools have responded to the pandemic in ways few public schools could: Stony Brook School, a Christian boarding and day school of 425 students, has devoted a dormitory to quarantining students. Harbor Country Day School, in St. James, is testing its teachers and 150 students once a week for COVID-19.

Leaders of both private and parochial schools said during the event that they were experiencing "record enrollment."

Watch the full webinar here.

MTA weighs borrowing $3B

The MTA is considering borrowing nearly $3 billion from the federal government to stay afloat this year during the pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

But far from a solution to its massive deficit, which is expected to exceed $10 billion next year, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Patrick Foye suggested the move only aims to buy the agency more time. The MTA is still contemplating massive budget cuts — including a possible 50% reduction in Long Island Rail Road service that could eliminate some branches.

"Borrowing $2.9 billion and change … is obviously helpful, but for an agency that spends $300 million a week, that is not a long-term solution," Foye said at the monthly meeting of the MTA Board.

More to know

The St. Anthony’s boys soccer team returned to the field on Wednesday — wearing masks — for their first team activity of the season.

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid rose slightly last week to 870,000.

About 9,000 more NYC government workers are being furloughed as the municipal budget struggles with a $9 billion hole, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

Bellport wholesaler Quality King Distributors did not overcharge customers for disinfectant in the early days of the pandemic, despite "isolated instances" of inflated prices, a state justice ruled Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Opera will skip an entire season for the first time in its nearly 140-year history, and plans to return from the pandemic layoff next September.

News for you

A takeout-only diner. The Diner Boys in North Merrick is a diner devoted solely to takeout and delivery — a perfect fit for safe dining during the pandemic. There aren't any booths, but there are plenty of diner staples like cheeseburgers, wings, gyros and Nutella-peanut butter milkshakes. Check it out.

See fall foliage from the perfect social distance. Using a kayak can bring great opportunities to see the leaves changing on Long Island. Check out where you can kayak locally to get a good view.

More movies postponed. The Walt Disney Co. has further postponed its next mega-movies "Black Widow" and Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" remake a full year.

John Lennon tribute goes virtual. The annual John Lennon tribute concert that takes place in New York on his Oct. 9 birthday has been forced online. It will stream for free from 7 p.m. to midnight on the website.

Plus: Staying at home to garden? Make it inviting for birds. Some species stay throughout the winter, so try these simple ways to attract birds to your garden this season.

Sign up for text messages to get the most important coronavirus news and information.


Jewish holidays bring memories of happier times. Corine B. Lipset, of Dix Hills, writes in an essay for Newsday: It’s nearly October, and despite the pandemic, time marches on. Days, weeks and months flash by like a mountain stream in spring whose melted snow cascades toward a rendezvous below.

Just a short time ago, Jewish people celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year — a holiday that brings joy and gaiety in sharp contrast to the next week, when Yom Kippur brings intense prayer, mourning and strong supplication that as we repent our sins, we may be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year. …

This year, my husband and I were alone, except for a short Zoom meeting to wish others a Happy New Year. We still had a festive dinner and my husband recited the kiddush, but the holiday was not the same. After dinner, I found myself thinking back not only to recent years, but to the celebrations of my childhood. Keep reading.