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Vaccine eligibility expands to 16-plus 

'There is no excuse’ to not get vaccinated, Cuomo says, as eligibility expands

"Today every person in the state of New York over 16 years old is eligible for the vaccine. There is no excuse, no excuse" to not "get your vaccination done," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said during a livestreamed event from the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, as National Guard members stood behind him.

The expansion in eligibility came as the state and its municipalities continued to receive more doses of the three vaccines available against the virus, part of a federal push to vaccinate more people sooner.

Meanwhile, three teenagers got their shots Tuesday at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, publicly demonstrating confidence in the vaccine and optimism for a post-pandemic future.

Dr. Charles Schleien, senior vice president and chair of pediatrics for Northwell Health and Cohen Children’s Medical Center, noted the toll the pandemic has exacted on families, saying: "Kids want to participate and do their part."

Also: Nassau County officials on Tuesday announced they're accelerating efforts to vaccinate homebound seniors. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the county's police medics will help to administer the new program for seniors, which is expected to get underway by next week.

Still looking for a vaccine appointment? Here's our guide for some resources that may help.

The chart below shows the number of new cases in New York City and in the state in recent days.

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

Great South Bay Music Festival to move to summer 2022

The Great South Bay Music Festival is moving again.

The 14th annual event that was originally scheduled for July 16-19, 2020, at Shorefront Park in Patchogue was moved to July 15-18, 2021, due to the pandemic, and the fest is now being pushed to July 7-10, 2022.

"A lot of national headliners are moving their tours to 2022, and we don’t know what the safety situation is going to be like," says festival founder/promoter Jim Faith. "We will never be able to have 100% capacity, making it economically impossible because the costs are going to go up. Plus, I don’t want to be responsible for people getting sick."

Poll: Schools get high marks, but parents want more

Long Island parents gave high marks to the job schools have been doing during the pandemic but believe remote learning falls short and want to know more about their children's academic performance, according to a new poll.

Parents also worry their children are losing out in key areas of learning, the poll conducted by The Education Trust-New York found. The poll found significant concern among low-income parents and communities of color statewide regarding academic progress and whether their children will graduate from high school.

The findings come as more Long Island school districts seek to reopen to in-person learning. School boards and educators, meanwhile, are trying to balance reopenings with safety and academic needs. Read more.

One year later: Near death with COVID, she had a baby

Yanira Soriano woke up in the hospital with COVID-19 last year not realizing she had just given birth to a baby boy.

Soriano almost died twice while nurses were treating her, and a cesarean section was performed to deliver her son Walter during efforts to save her life.

Joined Friday by the nurses who helped saved her, Soriano and Walter returned to South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore to celebrate Walter’s first birthday.

"All I asked for was to save my son, but you also saved me," Soriano said through a translator.

More to know

President Joe Biden is set to announce every adult in the U.S. will be eligible for a vaccine by April 19, instead of his May 1 deadline, a White House official said.

New research suggests the Moderna vaccine gives protection against COVID-19 for at least six months, which echoes what Pfizer said last week about its vaccine.

Advocates and parents of people with developmental disabilities fear care is threatened because caregivers are leaving their jobs, which has been worsened by the pandemic — and they want the state to provide a higher, living wage to retain them.

New York City will scrap its rule requiring public schools to close for at least 24 hours after a building reports two or more unrelated COVID-19 cases, with Mayor Bill de Blasio saying the policy "has outlived its usefulness."

The newly elected mayor of Hempstead during his inauguration ceremony this week called for greater distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the village that's been one of the hardest-hit during the pandemic.

The Mets added a vaccine education session to their Tuesday agenda, and on Thursday after their home opener against the Marlins, they can get the first of their two doses.

News for you

Your guide to biking on LI. There are plenty of bike paths and trails to explore on Long Island. Check out our guide for a list of places to ride and details like hours of operation, features, mileage and more. Plus: Find a list of mountain biking trails here, sorted by level of difficulty.

Find some butterflies at this pop-up greenhouse. The Butterflies in Babylon attraction is open through May 9. Visitors enter the 8-foot-by-10-foot greenhouse one family group at a time and are given supplies to attract the butterflies. It's open at 11 a.m. daily and closes at 5 p.m. every day but Sunday, when it closes at 4 p.m.

Newsday Live events coming up this week. Register here for a webinar at noon on Wednesday with local experts discussing how parents should prepare to get their children vaccinated. On Thursday at noon, a webinar geared toward recent grads trying to find a first job during a pandemic — you can register and find out more here.

LI senior makes the cover of Time magazine. Central Islip High School senior Twyla Joseph was placed the on the cover of the upcoming issue of Time, which focuses on the "lost year" experienced by so many students. Read more.

Plus: Reference this updated list to find pop-up drive-in movie events around Long Island this season.

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Commentary

A ripple effect of much-needed aid. Karen Boorshtein, president of Suffolk County-based nonprofit human services agency Family Service League, writes for Newsday Opinion: While the emergency set off by the coronavirus created new challenges and higher levels of stress for most of us and has been devastating for so many, it also created unimaginable financial and emotional hardships for thousands of Long Islanders.

For many families, the basic necessities that most of us took for granted pre-COVID-19 — housing, food, employment, health care and the funding of vital programs that tens of thousands of children and adults depend on every day — are no longer a sure thing.

The $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill will have far-reaching impacts on multiple facets of life for many of our neighbors. Emergency rental assistance, extended unemployment benefits and mortgage assistance are issues that have become daily problems. While each family situation is unique, poverty is the consistent underlining factor that many of our social workers encounter.

In some cases, the stimulus checks will pay for rent and utility bills. Some will use the money for car payments, insurance or repairs. Some families with young children may qualify for services and additional food from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which was created to help pregnant women, caregivers and parents with a child under 5. The bill includes funding to help more families access WIC.

However helpful such programs are, they don’t aid families with daily staples such as diapers, personal care, hygiene items and over-the-counter medication. Long Island food pantries have expanded stock to include other essentials, but over the past year the need has outpaced availability, which forces many to make unenviable choices to survive. Keep reading.

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