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Next up in vaccine campaign: 12- to 15-year-olds

Cuomo: Pfizer shot may be available to NY kids as young as 12 Thursday

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday to include people ages 12 to 15.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control's vaccine advisory committee is to meet Wednesday and may also approve the emergency use — clearing the way for states to start administering it.

If the CDC approves it, Dr. Howard Zucker, head of the New York State Department of Health, will meet with the state's Clinical Advisory Task Force and make a final recommendation, Cuomo said in a statement.

That "means we could have full authorization for vaccinations to begin for 12- to 15-year-olds here in New York as early as Thursday," Cuomo said.

The number of new positives reported today: 77 in Nassau, 104 in Suffolk, 557 in New York City and 1,516 statewide.

The chart below shows the percentages of New Yorkers who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and those who have been fully vaccinated.

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

LI to get federal stimulus boost

More than $841 million in federal stimulus aid for Long Island's counties, towns and municipalities will start to be distributed this week as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March.

Nassau County is set to receive $385 million and Suffolk County is to receive $286.8 million in federal relief, according to figures released Monday by the U.S. Treasury Department, Newsday's Laura Figueroa Hernandez reports.

President Joe Biden, speaking on the state of the economy at the White House on Monday, touted the release of $350 billion in state and local aid that was included in the American Rescue Plan.

"The money we're going to be distributing now is going to make it possible for an awful lot of educators, first responders, sanitation workers to go back to work," Biden said.

In Suffolk, Babylon Town is set to receive $27.7 million, Brookhaven Town will receive $55 million, Huntington Town will get $22.2 million and Islip Town is poised to receive $47.5 million. In Nassau, Hempstead Village is set to receive $16.7 million.

Nursing homes face historic vacancies, raising concerns

The vacancy rate at nursing homes in New York has jumped to three times the pre-pandemic level and is raising fears about the fiscal viability of the facilities, according to state records obtained by Newsday.

Driving the historic vacancy rate are the more than 15,000 deaths of nursing home residents from COVID-19 combined with families who are increasingly reluctant to send their relatives to the homes, said home operators and researchers in the field.

"This was the biggest vacancy we've seen," said Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of New York State Health Facilities Association, which represents skilled nursing providers. "You could see some nursing homes going out of business — they can't pay their mortgage."

Some researchers, however, say the low occupancy presents an opportunity to encourage funding and use of more community-based and at-home services to keep the elderly in assisted living apartments, with relatives or in their own home. Continue reading the story by Newsday's Michael Gormley.

Seeking aid for India

Nassau County lawmakers are joining with Asian American business, civic and religious groups to raise money and supplies for India as the country struggles with the world's worst COVID-19 outbreak.

India's health ministry reported more than 360,000 new COVID-19 cases Monday and 3,754 deaths related to the virus. The country has reported more than 246,000 deaths since the pandemic began, a number that some experts say undercounts the actual total of fatalities.

"We are uniquely aware how cruel and insidious this disease is," said Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) at a Monday news conference in Hicksville, home of the state's fastest-growing Indian American and South Asian community. "As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, what we are witnessing in India is an unbelievably heartbreaking tragedy. The suffering is just unimaginable."

Friends for Good Health International and Indo American Community Voice were among the local groups launching aid campaigns Monday, Newsday's Robert Brodsky reports.

More to know

At a pivotal moment in the U.S. vaccination campaign, just 11% of people who remain unvaccinated say they definitely will get the shot, while 34% say they definitely won't, according to a new poll.

Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India as the country battles a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections. Authorities said Tuesday they haven't yet determined the cause of death.

With fraudulent vaccine cards spreading, a Democratic state legislator is proposing a law that would make forging or possessing phony vaccine documents a felony.

U.S. employers posted a record number of available jobs in March, showing the scope of businesses trying to find new workers as the country emerges from the pandemic. Yet total job gains increased only modestly, according to a Labor Department report Tuesday.

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe of "Hamilton" will be back in all their glory for Broadway's opening night Sept. 14.

News for you

On Long Island … there's no place like a log home? When David and Amanda Woreth took a wrong turn in Brookhaven hamlet some 14 years ago, they felt like they had driven into another universe — or maybe Vermont. David Woreth said "here, at the end of a long dirt road, was a beautiful log home tucked into the woods on an acre of pristine property. Almost instantly, we knew we had to have it." Long Islanders love their log homes — warm in the winter, cool in the summer and beautiful.

"I Have A Vaccine Card. Now What?" That's the topic of conversation Thursday at Newsday Live. With more people getting vaccinated, what does a vaccine card do for you? Sign up here for the 11 a.m. event.

You've heard of remote work. But what about really remote, remote work? Companies have become increasingly open to more employees living far from where their jobs would traditionally be based.

Plus: What are Long Island's best Chinese restaurants? Check out our food critics' top picks.

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A baby boom would be bad. The 2020 census reported the lowest rate of population growth in the U.S. since the post-Depression decade, inspiring a chorus of economic Cassandras who want to reverse this trend. To shore up economic growth, they argue, we need to "raise fertility" and "avoid becoming yet another graying, stagnating wealthy society," perhaps even tripling our population to "one billion Americans," Amanda Little writes for Bloomberg Opinion.

But while the census numbers do offer a solid argument for immigration, the case for boosting birthrates fails to acknowledge the increasing difficulty of nourishing a more populated world.

Before clamoring for more mouths to feed, we need to recognize the dire realities of world hunger today and the gravely concerning predictions for famine and malnutrition in the decades to come. Let's get a plan in place to ensure climate stability and greater food security going forward. Until then, a slowdown in population growth not only eases pressures on a stressed planet, it will make it possible to feed more people more intelligently and sustainably, with higher-quality food.

Let's first establish that declining population trends are occurring well beyond the U.S. And birthrate declines are occurring alongside a concurrent trend: hunger. After falling for decades, global food insecurity is rising again, driven by extreme weather, political conflict and economic slowdowns intensified by the pandemic. Roughly 700 million people in the world are undernourished — a surge of 60 million in five years and almost 10% of the world population, according to a new report from the United Nation's World Food Programme. Keep reading.