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Should kids get a COVID-19 shot?

Local parents differ on vaccinating their kids

Long Island public health experts said they expect young children to eventually become eligible for vaccines and that herd immunity cannot be achieved without inoculating some of them. If enough people forgo the vaccines, for themselves or their kids, the coronavirus pandemic could be prolonged, experts warned, risking more deaths and further mutations of the virus that could make the vaccines less effective.

"It is so critically important to help children get vaccinated," said Henry Bernstein, a professor of pediatrics at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra-Northwell. "Vaccination is really the only way to effectively stop the spread of this disease."

Warner Frey, of East Northport, who plans to vaccinate his three sons if they become eligible, said: "Maybe I’m dating myself, but I do remember — I was very, very small — when polio was eradicated. Polio did not get eradicated by herd immunity. Polio got eradicated by vaccinations. It's common sense." Find out what other local parents and experts had to say.

Panel: If you want your kids back in school, get a shot. With lingering uncertainty about when children can get vaccinated against the coronavirus, educators and health experts at a Newsday Live Webinar on Thursday recommended the next best thing — all adults need to get a jab.

NY 'fully back' to lower virus levels from holiday surge, Cuomo says

New York is making progress in getting its COVID-19 levels down, registering figures in some categories that are the best since before a holiday season surge, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday, though the state continues to post higher rates of new infections than others of similar or larger populations.

The daily positivity level in statewide test results from Thursday was 2.81%, while the seven-day average was 3.04%.

"You look at where we are now at 3.04, it’s a long way from January 4th," Cuomo said at a news briefing livestreamed from Buffalo. "So that is good news statewide."

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The seven-day figure on Long Island was 3.46%, a notable drop from previous weeks when it remained well above 4%. Figures issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show the larger states of California, Texas and Florida had lower rates of new COVID-19 cases over the previous seven days, but the neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut were doing worse than New York.

Why Long Island's rate remains high was the subject of a Newsday Live webinar Friday featuring a discussion with the health commissioners of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Watch the replay.

This chart shows the number of new coronavirus cases confirmed each day on Long Island.

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

Why this recession is hitting women harder

The pandemic's disproportionate financial blow to women, and especially women of color, is likely to be felt for years to come, leading many economists and policy experts to refer to this moment as a "she-cession."

Women suffered 55% of the 9.6 million net layoffs caused by the pandemic, according to a January report from the National Women's Law Center. Hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave the workforce to care for their children when schools went remote and day care centers shuttered.

The unemployment rate for Black women last month was 8.7%, far above the nation's overall jobless rate of 6%, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For Latinas, the rate was 7.3%. In contrast, the jobless rate for white women was 5%.

On Long Island, the labor force — the sum of all employed residents and all those unemployed but looking for work — dropped by 71,100 from August to September. Local data does not break out labor changes by gender, but Shital Patel, labor market analyst in the state Labor Department's Hicksville office, said patterns at the national level showed that women, in response to their kids' remote schooling, were more likely than men to leave the job search at the start of the school year.

Plan to revive LI economy gets no response from Albany

Last summer, local officials scrambled to respond to a call from Gov. Cuomo for recommendations for immediate action to revive the region’s sagging economy.

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council sent 53 pages of recommendations to Albany in late September, which included jump-starting languishing road projects and making outdoor dining on public streets permanent. The council is still awaiting a response from Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, council co-vice chairman Kevin Law said Thursday.

The state never released the council’s 2020 Recovery Plan publicly; Newsday obtained a copy last week via a Freedom of Information Act request.

More to know

Long Island added more than 16,000 net new jobs in March, led in part by hiring in support services such as cleaning and security that could signal workers’ return to offices.

Needing a third COVID-19 shot within 12 months of completing the course of inoculation is "likely," according to the chief executive of vaccine-maker Pfizer. The makers of the two other shots authorized in the United States — Johnson & Johnson and Moderna — have made similar predictions.

High-speed, broadband internet required for most remote schooling and for the increasing use of telemedicine will be available to low-income families for $15 a month under the state’s newest law.

The UFC intends to welcome a capacity crowd at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena this summer when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor fight for the third time.

News for you

Where to get fried birria tacos. Slow-cooked beef, spooned dripping onto a tortilla that's been fried to a crisp in rendered fat — birria tacos are opulent in a very messy kind of way. They've been slow to arrive on Long Island, but we found them at Right Coast Taqueria's new food truck, which they opened in response to calls to have a presence out east. "We thought, 'who needs a restaurant with a dining room?' What we learned during the pandemic is that it's not that big of a deal for people."

Tickets for the air show. A limited number of parking tickets for the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park held over Memorial Day weekend will go on sale starting Monday, Cuomo said.

Plan your weekend. Adventureland is open. Plus, we have drive-in movies, miniature golf, a scavenger hunt and a chocolate and wine pairing event at a local vineyard in this weekend's guide.

For Macchio fans. "The Karate Kid" is teaming up with Sonny Corleone. Huntington native Ralph Macchio and "Godfather" star James Caan star together in the latest episode of "The Pack Podcast." (Listen to it on your next walk around the neighborhood or while hiking one of these trails.)

Plus: Coming up next week, Newsday Live's next webinar will feature experts answering your questions and giving insider tips on finding a job with or without a college degree in a COVID-19 world. Register here.

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

Commentary

Kids hold the key to herd immunity. Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, writes for Newsday Opinion: As soon as the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 16 is approved, it will be crucial for families to make sure their children roll up their sleeves and get their "Fauci ouchie" — not just for their own well-being, but for the entire community. In fact, we won’t be able to reach herd immunity until they do.

Herd immunity reflects how many individuals in a community have either had the illness (and can’t get it again; something not true with COVID-19) or have been vaccinated and are protected from getting that illness.

While we are thankful that fewer children than adults have been hospitalized or died from COVID, kids have no intrinsic protection from COVID, and thus if exposed can get infected. And if infected, they can pass it to close contacts.

Across the U.S. almost 3.5 million children have had documented COVID, with 18% of all new cases being reported occurring in children. Many of these children were sick, with some having not just typical COVID symptoms, but rather a new illness never seen before called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C. This post-COVID illness is severe and often results in ICU admission and occasionally death. Adding to our concerns are some of the post-COVID symptoms such as brain fog and chronic lung conditions that we are now seeing in kids.

How can we prevent children from ever catching this virus? Keep reading.

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