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Vaccines wanted: NY's supply in question

Vaccine supply in question as more seek COVID-19 shots

Officials said Tuesday that New York City may run out of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this week, while New York State says it has no available slots left to schedule appointments at most of the mass vaccination sites it runs.

"This is just a crazy thing. This is not the way this should be rolled out," said Jessica Gurevitch, a professor at Stony Brook University who is eligible for the vaccine, both because she is over 65 and a teacher. "This should be rolled out in a much more competent way, and it’s being done so in a totally chaotic free-for-all."

Residents had few options on Tuesday for scheduling appointments at state-run mass vaccination sites, since available slots filled up quickly after they were released over the past week on the state sign-up website.

The state health department did not respond to questions about when new appointment dates and times would be released, instead sending an earlier statement from Cuomo that "our constraint is the federal supply, and that is creating a scheduling backlog."

Meanwhile, 27% of New Yorkers do not plan to get vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

Fact check: Myths and misconceptions about the virus have been circulating since the first cases emerged — and now, there's a new round of misconceptions about the vaccine. Here are the facts.

The number of new positives reported today: 1,157 in Nassau, 1,293 in Suffolk, 5,350 in New York City and 12,512 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new cases in the state and in New York City each day this month.

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

Human trials start on LI vaccine candidate

Codagenix Inc. has launched the first human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in hopes of bringing it to market in early 2022, an executive said.

Jeffrey Fu, chief business officer at the Farmingdale startup, said the first doses in the double-blind, placebo-controlled study in London were administered to volunteers this month. For every three participants who get the vaccine, one will get a placebo. The 48 volunteers range from 18 to 30 years old and neither they nor the researchers know who received the placebo.

"The real objective of the phase 1 study is to demonstrate safety," Fu said, and initial results are promising, with "no risk signals" among the first three participants. The study also will check the volunteers for indications that the vaccine is activating an immune response against the virus.

Teachers union calling for cancellation of standardized testing

An influential statewide teachers union is calling for the cancellation of standardized student testing for the second year in a row, citing academic disruptions from the pandemic.

Leaders of New York State United Teachers, or NYSUT, in a letter obtained by Newsday, urged the state to again seek waivers from federal testing requirements. Waivers, if granted, could result in cancellation both of state English and math tests usually administered in the spring for grades three through eight, as well as Regents exams most often given in June at the high school level.

"Educators know their students' needs and how to maximize their potential," said Andy Pallotta, the state organization's president. "Giving them the flexibility to help their students achieve their best without administering these tests is the right thing to do this year."

LI college students pick up side gigs with extra home time

Some college students have been taking advantage of a longer-than-usual time at home to earn some extra cash.

Michael Foley, 21, of North Massapequa, a senior art student at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., spent fall semester on Long Island, attending class remotely. But when the term wrapped, he was in the same boat as many others who faced a long winter break, as many colleges stretched the typical winter time off this year to lessen the virus exposure.

Eventually, he was hired to paint people’s windows with celebratory scenes, and a side hustle was born. Read more stories of students' side gigs.

More to know

Long Beach's annual Polar Bear Splash has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, but participants are encouraged to forgo the plunge into the ocean and instead splash at home, officials and organizers said.

A panel of experts commissioned by the WHO has criticized China and other countries for not moving to stem the initial outbreak earlier, and questioned whether the U.N. health agency should have labeled it a pandemic sooner.

The MTA is putting off a planned fare hike vote, citing the financial impact of the pandemic on its customers, but is moving ahead with a separate vote to raise bridge and tunnel tolls next month.

A new study says U.S. businesses compatible with remote work could save almost $11,000 per employee each year, if workers telecommuted an average of 2 1/2 days a week.

The College Board will eliminate the optional essay from the SAT and do away with subject tests amid a changing college admissions landscape, it announced Tuesday.

News for you

Restaurants find survival in opening markets. Ordering from restaurants started to change last spring when empty supermarket shelves compelled some eateries to start selling groceries to stuck-at-home regulars. Now, they've found ways to create permanent markets. We've got a list of places you can buy — or soon buy — groceries along with your lunch or dinner order.

Ben Vereen's virtual Bay Street class. Come Monday, the Tony-winning star of "Pippin" and countless other Broadway musicals will begin teaching an eight-week virtual Master Class in acting for Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts.

A later kickoff to tax season. Anyone looking to get an early tax refund and pay off some bills in early February is out of luck. The IRS announced it's going to only begin processing 2020 income tax returns as of Feb. 12. The official kickoff for tax season will be about two or three weeks later than usual.

Plus: Long Islanders sought comfort and hope in the words and deeds of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as they honored him Monday during a deadly pandemic and threats of more Capitol violence. Watch a video and read a recap of how many spent the day.

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Commentary

COVID-19 is traumatizing our doctors and nurses. Therese Raphael, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, writes: Hand it to human beings. We have repeatedly defied predictions that we will buckle under the extreme pressure of adverse events. Time and again, whether it was during the eight-month blitz in World War II, or after 9/11, people have proved remarkably resilient in the face of adversity.

Will it be the same with this pandemic? On aggregate, probably yes. Most people have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, mental stress as a result of pandemic-related circumstances. (Irritation, anxiety, helplessness, tiredness, sadness, burnout, trouble sleeping or difficulty concentrating — any of these sound familiar?) But once vaccinated and our lives are unlocked, most people will probably return to their individual baseline levels of happiness, even if there are new post-pandemic adjustments to be made.

And yet while different people experience the threat of the virus and repeated lockdowns differently, the mental health impact of the crisis for many cannot be ignored. The pandemic affects so many drivers of well-being — from social isolation to financial loss, housing insecurity, remote working and rising unemployment — while removing normal coping mechanisms.

Most recently, the spotlight has been on the huge pressure facing hospital staff. A study of 709 doctors, nurses and other clinical staff across six hospitals in England found that nearly half reported symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder in June and July. What they are experiencing is analogous to combatants in a war zone, researchers found. They face not only the relentless demands of their jobs — heightened because of a shortage of beds and nurses — but also the constant loss of life of those in their care. One in five ICU nurses reported thoughts of self-harm. Those are much higher rates than found among even U.K. military personnel who have been deployed. Keep reading.

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