30-plus is the new 50-plus

New Yorkers age 30 and up are now eligible to...

New Yorkers age 30 and up are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Howard Schnapp

CVS posted appointments for Saturday at locations on Long Island, including Patchogue, Bay Shore, Glen Cove and West Islip — but the slots were taken quickly.

"As we receive vaccine supply, we will add new appointments and open additional locations," CVS spokeswoman Tara Burke said.

Walgreens also had sporadic appointments that were quickly booked.

The new eligibility expansion is "a monumental step forward in the fight to beat" the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.

New York State administered nearly 78% of the vaccine doses delivered to it as of March 26, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of federal data. Kaiser said the nationwide average was 81%.

But at the same time as more people became eligible for shots, positivity levels in testing for COVID-19 along with new confirmed cases remained stable in New York, underscoring how the state has stalled in its efforts to eradicate the virus.

Meanwhile, inmate visitation at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility, which was scheduled to resume April 6, has been postponed indefinitely due to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases among staff members and throughout the county, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday.

The number of new positives reported today: 516 in Nassau, 612 in Suffolk, 3,118 in New York City and 6,488 statewide.

The chart below shows the number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in Nassau and Suffolk counties each day.

Credit: Newsday

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

American Rescue Plan dollars for LI schools

Long Island schools will receive nearly $324 million as part of Washington's latest financial rescue of public education from COVID-19, Sen. Chuck Schumer's office announced.

Federal school assistance from President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan will help districts with large numbers of students living below the poverty line. Brentwood is slated for nearly $28.9 million, Hempstead for $19.3 million and William Floyd for $15.5 million, with smaller amounts going to another 107 systems regionwide, according to figures released by the Senate majority leader's office.

The share of dollars going to schools in Nassau and Suffolk, with about 17% of the state's student enrollment, is relatively low, representing 3.6% of the more than $8.9 billion due to be distributed statewide starting this month. In contrast, New York City schools, with about 40% of the state's enrollment, are expected to gain about $5.2 billion, or 58%, of the money, Schumer's office said.

The New York Democrat said in a prepared statement that tens of millions of dollars from the package would be discretionary funds that the state could distribute as it saw fit. How the overall distribution of federal and state money will work out for the Island should become clearer by Thursday, when Cuomo and legislators are due to adopt a state budget.

Student musicians lend an ear to those needing lessons

Musical Relief founders Michael Lan, 16, left, and Evan Cheng,...

Musical Relief founders Michael Lan, 16, left, and Evan Cheng, 17, with their instruments in Syosset on Sunday. Credit: Morgan Campbell

A group of Syosset High School students and their friends are using their musical talents to offer lessons at no cost for children who either had their music education disrupted by the pandemic or can't afford professional instruction.

Michael Lan, 16, a founding teacher of the Musical Relief program who plays the violin and viola, said once the pandemic hit the sessions went virtual.

The teachers are high school students from communities such as Syosset and Hicksville who have participated in extracurricular orchestras or selective pre-college music programs such as those offered at the prestigious Juilliard School in Manhattan.

"It makes me feel as though we're actually making some sort of impact in terms of being able to teach students and spread musical education," said Lan, a Syosset High School junior, who teaches five students a week.

Fox booker, story editor, dies of COVID-19 at 52

Eric Spinato was a senior head booker and story editor for...

Eric Spinato was a senior head booker and story editor for Fox Business Network. Credit: Dean Spinato

In his job as a booker over the years for Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and most recently Fox Business Network, Eric Spinato rubbed elbows on a continual basis with the rich and famous — and the infamous — as he helped book guests for daily broadcasts. But, his brother Dean Spinato said, throughout it all Eric was never star-struck, maybe the biggest reason he made it all work.

"His goal," Dean Spinato said, "was just to be the best at what he did. The best word for my brother is 'humble.' He mingled with celebrities, the rich and famous, the Trumps, everybody. But when he went to the White House instead of saying he'd been at the White House with the president he was like, 'Yeah, I had to work this weekend.' That was it. 'I had to work.' "

Eric Spinato died March 21 at his home in Levittown. He was 52.

Dean Spinato said doctors believed the death was due to COVID-19, with Eric becoming ill from the coronavirus following a recent trip to Florida.

Dean Spinato called his brother "a father figure" to him, noting they lost their dad, Robert, to a heart attack when they were 18 and 16 — and their father was just 46. Sadly, he said, his brother was most worried about that with his own sons, Robert and Nicholas, who are now 18 and 16.

More to know

More than 20 heads of government and global agencies called Tuesday for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness that they say will protect future generations in the wake of COVID-19.

Biden said Monday that 90% of U.S. adults will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19 and will be able to reach a vaccination site within five miles of where they live.

Gov. Cuomo's relatives and other well-connected New Yorkers were among those given preferential treatment at state coronavirus testing centers when the pandemic first gripped New York last year, The Washington Post reported. State officials disputed that people were given special treatment because of ties to Cuomo.

The Northport VA Medical Center on Wednesday will loosen visitor restrictions to its residential living facility, allowing limited in-person meetings between residents and relatives, officials said. Visits in the pandemic era were previously permitted on a case-by-case basis.

The Town of Oyster Bay will waive a host of permit fees for local restaurants for the second straight year, Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said Monday.

The Tribeca Film Festival will return for 12 days beginning June 9, saying Monday that it plans to hold outdoor screenings spread throughout New York City's five boroughs.

News for you

The Easter Bunny and Chick will be at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt...

The Easter Bunny and Chick will be at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport to greet guests at the facility's "Vandy Land" daily through April 3. Credit: Vanderbilt Museum

Socially distant Easter activities for families on LI. It's time for the Easter Bunny to make some local appearances. Here are spots offering safe, family-friendly ways to mark the holiday — including an egg hunt and forest walk in Smithtown.

Recent Long Island restaurant openings. Sample our list, which is extensive.

The relationship between humans and food. A reminder that Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Mark Bittman will join the Newsday Live Author Series and Long Island LitFest to talk about his work, career and new book "Animal, Vegetable, Junk." Newsday's Erica Marcus hosts; sign up here.

Plus: "It's basically your classic Italian heroes made into a sushi roll." It's happening in Roslyn.

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Commentary

Credit: Bloomberg / Andrew Harrer

What's missing in the conversation about the pandemic gig economy. Molly A. Warsh writes for The Washington Post: In November 2020, the leading food-delivery service, DoorDash, reported 543 million total orders for the first nine months of the year. As reported in MarketWatch, this represented a threefold increase over the orders placed in the same period in 2019.

The numbers are striking. Even more striking are the human stories behind them. Who are the people who cooked and delivered these millions of meals? Buried within the story of COVID-19's impact on the economy — the many industries that have collapsed and the few that have thrived — is the prominence of seasonal labor.

We generally think of seasonal workers as those picking crops on farms and packing food in industrial plants. But if we consider the many possible meanings of "season" — from natural cycle, to stage of life, to accumulated experience, to added flavor — we realize that impermanent seasonal work is all around: delivery drivers, grocery store stockers and Instacart shoppers. Keep reading.