Cuomo: NY will have to prepare to vaccinate 15 million residents

Jim Son, a pharmacist with Stony Brook University Hospital, prepares the...

Jim Son, a pharmacist with Stony Brook University Hospital, prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on March 5 at the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Hindu Temple in Melville. Credit: Howard Schnapp

More than six million initial doses have been administered to date in New York. But opening up eligibility to all adult residents on May 1 to adhere to a directive Biden announced Thursday would expand the pool of qualifying residents to approximately 15 million people, according to Cuomo.

"We are not at that capacity now," Cuomo said.

Cuomo's comments came Friday, at the same time he faced growing calls for his resignation over sexual harassment allegations.

The president's announcement "is going to have a major ramification on states’ vaccination capacity," Cuomo said, during a briefing with reporters. "We need to have a tremendous increase in our capacity to vaccinate."

While Biden did not promise that everyone will get a vaccine by May 1, Cuomo said, "once you tell people they are eligible, then eligibility suggests now I should be able to get it."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday called on the state to restore its mandate that domestic travelers arriving in New York must quarantine to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

"I don't know if this is the state's idea of an April Fool's joke, but it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do," de Blasio said of removing the restriction, starting April 1.

This chart shows the percentages of Long Islanders who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and those who have been fully vaccinated.

The reported percentages jumped Feb. 18, 2021 after New York...

The reported percentages jumped Feb. 18, 2021 after New York State released data that added doses administered under the federal government's program for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Credit: Newsday

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

Expert: Vaccines can be updated to match mutations

"Is it possible that, as the virus continues to mutate, that it will make the vaccines that we have today ineffective?"

It's a question many are asking as the vaccine rollout ramps up amid new strains of COVID-19.

During a recent Newsday webinar, one doctor said the formula of the coronavirus vaccine might, theoretically, be ineffective someday.

"That is possible; it may even be probable, if the virus continues to linger," said Dr. Chid Iloabachie, associate chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream. "But certainly the way that these vaccines were made allows the pharmaceutical companies to make minor adjustments that can increase the efficacy and create new vaccines that will help us going forward."

Being vaccinated is a ticket to a more open life, but they’re no panacea, at least not yet, Iloabachie said.

The experts who participated in the live discussion also answered questions about vaccinated people’s immunity, including their risk of transmission to others. Watch the replay.

1 in 4 LI execs say their business may not survive

Margo Cargill, CEO of Titanium Linx, said she was worried last...

Margo Cargill, CEO of Titanium Linx, said she was worried last month that her firm might not survive but is more hopeful now.  Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nearly one in four executives on Long Island said their businesses might not survive the pandemic, according to a poll released on Thursday.

But while 23% said their future is in doubt, another 34% — more than one in three — said their firms would be stronger than before.

More than half of the executives who said their businesses are struggling are in the food, beverage and retail industries. They were shut down for months to slow the coronavirus’ spread and many still operate with capacity limits.

Many of those who expect their firms to emerge stronger are in the engineering, construction and finance sectors.

"Long Island businesses have gotten punched in the face," said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute, which conducted the online poll Feb. 5-26. "The pandemic has cost jobs; it’s cost money, and CEOs have had to figure out new ways of doing business."

Also, "fractional" executives -- hired guns who, as the name suggests, can juggle jobs at multiple companies and devote a fraction of the workweek to each -- are filling C-suite level roles on Long Island and beyond as the pandemic tightens budgets and traditional career paths veer into the gig economy.

LI Asians say they fear for their safety after attacks nationwide

The Wong family, of New Hyde Park, on March 4.

The Wong family, of New Hyde Park, on March 4. Credit: Howard Simmons

Attacks in recent weeks against Asians on the West Coast and in New York City have put Long Islanders like Kathy Wong on edge and more on guard.

The New Hyde Park mother of three watched in horror the recent footage of an Asian woman being shoved to the ground outside a bakery in Queens.

"I saw her starting to back up. The fear was already there before she was pushed," Wong recalled of seeing the video in February on the evening news. "When he pushed her with such force [to] the ground, I automatically thought of my own mother. I automatically thought of my daughter."

Violent assaults nationwide in the past two months have intensified fears among some Asian Americans on the Island. Some grew so concerned over the safety of vulnerable elders that they are advising them to avoid public transportation and are limiting their own trips outdoors, and have kept their children at home to learn remotely on top of worries of COVID-19 risks.

During his prime-time speech Thursday, Biden condemned "vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated" during the pandemic. "It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop."

Suffolk County police said they are investigating two reports of hate incidents with Asian victims but reported no cases of violent assaults targeting Asians.

More to know

President Joe Biden, in his first prime time White House address, asserted that the United States is on track to return to a "more normal" state by July 4 while making the announcement he will direct states to open COVID-19 vaccines to all adults by May.

Long Island school leaders say they have good reason to be cautious in assessing the impact on their districts of Biden's financial rescue package — a plan representing a historic windfall for many schools nationwide.

The Shinnecock Indian Nation, after tamping down a winter outbreak of COVID-19 at its Southampton reservation, expects the next round of federal stimulus funds to pump between $2.4 million and $6 million to the tribe to help it further insulate members from the disease and its financial impacts.

High school football returns this week but there are many changes to how, or if, many contests will play out.

News for you

The Irish-themed pop-up bar at the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale...

The Irish-themed pop-up bar at the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale is open through March 21. Credit: Linda Rosier

Get 'Shamrock’d.' Everyone needs a little luck these days and The Nutty Irishman is delivering a pot of gold at its St. Patrick’s Day themed pop-up bar running through March 21. The room will be decked out with a rainbow-lit wall, a field of shamrocks and lots of green.

Plan a 'mini' getaway. Whether you owe yourself a honeymoon, babymoon, or just desperately need a getaway, and you don't want to stay long or go too far, check out our guide to these upstate spots. We scouted places close enough to drive to without a refueling stop, that have COVID precautions in place and are luxurious enough to warrant leaving home.

Considering camp this summer? If you're weighing whether or not to enroll your child in a summer program, camp officials who participated in a recent Newsday Live discussion, say Long Island parents "should feel very comfortable" sending their children this year. (Just one local day camp saw coronavirus cases but the spread was contained.) Read more and watch the replay of the webinar.

Plus: Inflatable jousting, a Pot ‘O Gold treasure hunt and even an End ‘O the Rainbow Haunted House are among the St. Patrick's Day festivities taking place this weekend at the Milleridge Inn. Check out our weekend guide to see what else is happening near you.

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre joined the church's...

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre joined the church's bishops' conference in discouraging the faithful from taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "on moral grounds." Pictured is the diocese's St. Agnes Roman Catholic Cathedral in Rockville Centre. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Diocese J&J vaccine decision a mistake. Reader Marie Polifrone, of Hewlett, writes in a letter to Newsday: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, in my view, has just broken at least one of the Ten Commandments by urging people not to get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that could save many lives on Long Island and help achieve herd immunity faster ["Catholics urged not to get J&J shot," News, March 8].

This diocese has been plagued by child abuse issues, bankruptcy and loss of members. Is this an attempt to remind people they still exist by putting out, to me, such an irresponsible proclamation? The misguided premise that this vaccine uses human cells in the production, which makes it sinful, in my view, sends us back to the medieval times when people had to pay priests to get into heaven.

Scientists used their God-given talents to produce this one-shot vaccine, which may be the only one available in many areas and will take us to herd immunity quickly before more variants develop. But this article will be another excuse for some not to get any vaccine even though the pope received a vaccine. In my opinion, the diocese may have blood on its hands from this proclamation. Read more reader letters.