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NY nears 5% positivity rate as cases rise

Cuomo: 'The numbers are going up'

The statewide rate of new positives stood at 4.96% — including the microclusters where the infection level is higher — and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he expects rising cases through the holidays.

On Long Island, the positivity rate was 3.9% for the latest test results, higher than New York City's 3.1%.

The number of COVID-19 patients also grew by 242, bringing the state's hospitalization total to 3,774 — 718 of them in intensive care units.

"The numbers are going up," Cuomo said during a phone briefing with reporters. "We expected the numbers to go up. My projection is that the numbers will continue to go up through the holiday season" and into mid-January.

Cuomo said the vaccines offer promise to help bring the pandemic under control by what he said experts estimate to be in the summer or September.

"The light at the end of the tunnel is the vaccination," he said. "That will end this epidemic. The question is when does the vaccination hit critical mass?"

Meanwhile, the Massapequa school district said multiple students and staff have tested positive — including 12 students at the high school’s main campus — since buildings closed Tuesday for Thanksgiving break. The schools remain open.

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In case you missed it: Cuomo on Monday had announced a five-point plan aimed largely at ensuring hospitals are properly prepared.

Questions about COVID-19 tests? Find answers on where you can get tested, which tests are available and when to get tested in our FAQ.

The number of new positives reported today: 461 in Nassau, 609 in Suffolk, 2,569 in New York City and 7,285 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of patients hospitalized for the coronavirus in the state.

Search a map of cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, new cases, deaths and more.

Who gets the vaccine first? Here's what NY says

Federal and state health officials are wrestling with the question: Who should be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines?

New York State's Department of Health has rolled out a tentative distribution plan, and the CDC is working on its own guidelines.

Here's a glimpse of the state's proposed distribution plan and who should be in each phase:

  • Phase 1: Health care workers, long-term care facility workers, at-risk long-term care facility patients.
  • Phase 2: Police, fire and National Guard first responders; teachers, school staff and child care providers; public health workers; workers interacting with the public and maintaining critical infrastructure (i.e. pharmacists, grocery store workers, transit employees); other long-term care facility patients and those living in other congregate settings deemed high risk; people in the general population with comorbidities and health conditions.
  • Phase 3: People over 65; people under 65 with comorbidities or health conditions.
  • Phase 4: All other essential workers.
  • Phase 5: Healthy adults and children.

Advocates: The pandemic brings anxiety for those with HIV/AIDS

For the nearly 5,800 Long Islanders living with HIV/AIDS, the COVID-19 pandemic is a constant struggle.

Concerns about getting to doctor appointments when hospitals are overrun with virus patients; worries about paying rent or affording groceries when paychecks stopped coming in; and a deep anxiety that they could be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

"There's almost a PTSD reaction with the pandemic similar to the earliest days of HIV," said Allison Covino, program director for Options for Community Living in Ronkonkoma, which provides services and housing to Long Islanders living with HIV/AIDS. "For clients with compromised immune systems, it's a scary time."

Tuesday is the 32nd annual World AIDS Day, in a year with the country in the grips of its worst public health crisis since the HIV epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Gifts donated to family of NYPD detective who died from COVID-19

The family of NYPD Det. Raymond Abear, who died in the spring from the virus, got a surprise on Sunday: donated gifts for the holidays, thanks to a Massapequa woman and other volunteers.

There were bicycles, an iPad, a ball pit, a seesaw, a PAW Patrol watch, snow boots and more for the late detective's wife, Catherine Abear, and the couple’s 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. The thousands of dollars worth of gifts came from Gifting for a Brighter Tomorrow, an 1,100-member group that Chrysta Cataldo, of Massapequa, created.

"We picked this NYPD officer, and we bought them everything that they wanted," Cataldo said, adding of Catherine Abear: "I just want to brighten her holiday a little bit. I just want to make her life a little easier for the holidays, so that she doesn't have to go out and buy gifts for her kids."

As of early October, 46 deaths of NYPD personnel had been linked to the virus.

More to know

Cyber Monday was projected to ring up record-breaking numbers this year, experts say, as consumers avoided mall crowds and largely shopped online this year.

Vehicle thefts have jumped on Long Island and elsewhere this year, a trend police officials and experts are attributing partially to the pandemic — with more food delivery vehicles being targeted and cars sitting immobile from people working at home.

U.S. stocks rose broadly in morning trading Tuesday, and the S&P 500 pushed toward another record high as investors focus on the possibility of vaccines to help usher in a global economic recovery.

News for you

Getting back to scrapbooking. As Long Islanders look back on memories this year, what better way to do that than with some old-fashioned scrapbooking? Those crafts and card-making are on the rise now, and in-person and virtual resources are available for all levels of crafters.

Book a private visit with Santa. In attempts to avoid crowded malls or popular events to spot Santa this year, some businesses have started offering private sessions for kids to see him. Some companies are even offering virtual one-on-one sessions to Zoom with Santa at the North Pole.

At-home aquariums bring a welcome distraction. As many people spend more time at home, some Long Islanders say aquariums can bring a calming sense of serenity. But what kind to get, and how to prepare and maintain them? We've got a primer for anyone thinking of bringing a large aquarium home.

Plus: Join us for a free webinar at noon on Wednesday for an in-depth discussion on a vaccine, featuring local doctors from top hospitals and universities leading the charge on Long Island. Register now. Missed one of our past virtual events? Find replays of all previous events here.

Get the most important coronavirus news and updates delivered to your phone by signing up for our text messages.

Commentary

What World AIDS Day reminds us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer Brier, the project director of History Moves at the University of Illinois at Chicago, writes for The Washington Post: Dec. 1, 2020, is the first World AIDS Day commemorated since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the country focuses on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to address the devastating public health crisis of 2020, Tuesday offers an opportunity to reflect on the very real persistence of HIV/AIDS. In fact, 40 years after its first appearance, AIDS is still firmly implanted in our present moment; and medicine alone will never be the silver bullet to end disease and ill health. What's more, the history of AIDS reminds us that blaming individuals for their actions distracts from the real issue: how the deep structures of economic and racial inequality actually spread disease.

History can provide us with guideposts to better health, but only if we look beyond superficial explanations. In the case of AIDS — and likely ultimately for COVID-19 as well — survival can depend on political mobilization and demands by patients to receive more than biomedical solutions to disease. Keep reading.

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