How medical experts have adapted to treat COVID-19

A sign encourages Port Jefferson residents to take measures to prevent...

A sign encourages Port Jefferson residents to take measures to prevent coronavirus spread. Credit: Morgan Campbell

The quick development of effective vaccines has been hailed by medical experts, but there's still much researchers don’t know about helping the human body battle COVID-19, and there's no cure for the disease.

"At the beginning, there were a lot of unknowns. It was very scary," said Dr. James A. Vosswinkel, chief of trauma, emergency surgery and surgical critical care at Stony Brook Medicine. "People came in and we did a lot of treatments. Some panned out to be beneficial. Some not so much."

Treatments have improved since the pandemic's early days, when hospitals were overwhelmed with sick patients, many of whom struggled to breathe. At the peak in April, there were 4,108 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Long Island. More than 1,100 were in intensive care units.

The numbers are down today, as people are getting shots and doctors have found drugs and therapies that ease symptoms while researchers look for advances. Fewer than 1,000 patients with the virus remained in Long Island hospitals by late February this year, fewer than 190 in intensive care.

ICYMI: The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The FDA on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Have questions about that vaccine? Read this Q&A to get answers.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said COVID-19 positivity rates continued to decline statewide and dropped below 4% for the second day in a row on Long Island.

The number of new positives reported today: 559 in Nassau, 575 in Suffolk, 3,503 in New York City and 6,235 statewide.

The chart below shows the percentages of New Yorkers who have gotten vaccinated so far.

This chart shows the percentage of New Yorkers who have received...

This chart shows the percentage of New Yorkers who have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and those who have been fully vaccinated.

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

Still trying to get a vaccine appointment? Check out our guide with some resources.

Stepping up vaccination efforts among the Latino community

Miguel Garzon, the owner of La Espiguita Soccer Academy, after...

Miguel Garzon, the owner of La Espiguita Soccer Academy, after getting vaccinated Friday in Brentwood. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

A roaring pandemic once forced Miguel Garzon to close his indoor soccer complex in Brentwood for more than six months.

La Espiguita Soccer Academy was open for business Friday because Garzon lent out his 7,000-square-foot facility to New York State officials, who used it as a site to administer first-dose Pfizer vaccines.

By midmorning, a few dozen people — mostly Latinos — waited for their inoculations in a community that has been among the hardest-hit by COVID-19 on Long Island.

"I am so happy to help my community — because it’s my community," said Garzon, 59, of Dix Hills. "I want it to be safe."

The state-run "pop up" vaccination site in the Suffolk hamlet was indicative of how authorities are ramping up efforts to inoculate Latinos in their neighborhoods on Long Island, while grassroots organizers work to dispel community fears posed by COVID-19 vaccines, officials said. The coordinated effort comes amid an uptick of vaccines arriving on Long Island.

Transitioning to high school is troublesome during COVID-19

Smithtown High School East freshman Ariana Glaser.

Smithtown High School East freshman Ariana Glaser. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

For the majority of Long Island students, freshman year in high school is a rite of passage that sends them into a new building with new teachers and a wider world of more mature experiences.

But the pandemic has changed that, making it a troublesome transition for many, students and educators said.

"The two big things that they are missing are the collaboration among students and the direct academic, emotional support" from teachers, said Alan Singer, a Hofstra University professor of secondary education. "It's hurting their education."

Entering high school, young people shift from middle school, where they are very much directed by teachers, to a more independent environment, Singer said. But this time, they go through that transition during a pandemic filled with fear and precautionary rules, he said.

Insiders: Miscalculations, Cuomo's style led to nursing home controversy

The controversy over Cuomo’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes has been public and often ugly, with legislators — including fellow Democrats — accusing the governor of delaying information on the number of nursing home deaths and bullying them when they questioned his approach.

But six former aides who have worked for Cuomo say the governor’s plight is the result of missteps, the bullish, must-win drive that served him well but made many enemies, and the historic difficulties elected officials face in their third terms.

"It was arrogance," said one former close aide. "And, 'What we say goes' that kind of led to a lot of self-inflicted injuries and this issue in particular."

More to know

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said she began a period of COVID-19 quarantine on Saturday after being notified that she had contact with a person who tested positive.

Smithtown Fire District officials are investigating the department chief for allegedly using his official email account to forward a video falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccinations kill patients, an official said.

The Town of Babylon is partnering with a Long Island nonprofit to provide nearly $1.4 million in rent relief to town residents financially impacted by COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, said Sunday that Americans should get vaccinated with whatever dose is available as quickly as possible.

After a year of struggling to boost coronavirus testing, communities across the U.S. are now seeing plummeting demand and shuttering testing sites, or even trying to return supplies.

News for you

Eugenia Fundo started making bleach distressed clothing at home during...

Eugenia Fundo started making bleach distressed clothing at home during the pandemic. She sells her shirts and jackets on Instagram.  Credit: Reece T. Williams

Your next DIY project while staying home. It's tie-dye's cousin that's the latest must-have: bleached distressed clothes. The looks are everywhere, and it's easy to do at home. Check out our guide.

Celebrate Women’s History Month. There are plenty of virtual and in-person events across Long Island to mark the month, from documentary screenings to wine tastings and art discussions. Check our list.

A webinar for minority business owners. Find out about available aid during a free virtual event on Wednesday organized by Nassau County, officials said. It goes from 9 to 10 a.m. and will include presentations from state and local officials, as well as nonprofit leaders, about assistance for minority-owned companies.

Plus: The Golden Globes were last night in an unprecedented virtual format. Catch up with how it went and who won.

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

Commentary

Credit: Getty Images/Richard Bailey

We can improve nursing home care. Michael Burgess, former director of the New York State Office for the Aging, writes for Newsday Opinion: Amid the political bickering over Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s order regarding nursing homes and the coronavirus, there has been little attention paid to improving the quality of life in nursing homes. If only the residents could get as much attention when there is not a pandemic.

Long before the coronavirus, there were serious problems at nursing homes, including low staff pay, high employee turnover and a lack of supplies and protective equipment, and the view that nursing homes could be "profit centers."

When the investigations and the politics are over, the best way to honor the 15,000 nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 in homes or hospitals is to reform care. A package of bills in the State Legislature that would increase staffing, repeal immunity for operators, require greater infection control, tighten control of for-profit companies and other reforms should be approved. Keep reading.