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Long Island's death toll at nearly 7,000 as six more die of COVID-19, state data shows

North Shore University Hospital intensive care unit nurse

North Shore University Hospital intensive care unit nurse Elyse Isopo gets a Pfizer booster shot on Oct. 6 at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park. In December 2020, Isopo was the second American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Six Long Islanders were among the 32 New Yorkers who died Friday of coronavirus, bringing the Island’s death toll to nearly 7,000, and the state’s to nearly 45,000, since the pandemic began in early 2020.

Four of Friday’s deaths were of Suffolk residents, and two from Nassau, according to a news release issued Saturday by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office.

Since March 1, 2020, at least 3,278 residents of Nassau have died of the virus, and 3,566 from Suffolk, according to the state’s pandemic tracking website.

For months, the number of Long Islanders dying daily of the virus has stayed relatively stable, as has the testing-positivity rate. That's in contrast with the worst days of the pandemic, before the availability of the vaccines, when daily deaths were in the double digits and the infection rate was growing exponentially.

So far, deaths statewide of as many as 57,047 people are attributable to coronavirus, according to Hochul’s office, which abandoned a practice from the Cuomo administration of publicizing a lower count than what’s reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Cuomo policy, for example, included only those deaths with a lab-tested confirmation of infection, and not those for which the virus was only listed as a cause or contributing factor.

On Friday, the state's total test positivity rate, averaged over seven days, was 2.47%, according to the news release; it’s 2.71% on Long Island and 1.36% in New York City.

Meanwhile, despite repeated requests over several months, the New York City health department again has not provided data tracking reinfections (for people who caught the virus and recovered but remain unvaccinated) compared to breakthrough infections (those who never had the virus but are vaccinated), over an identical time period. Whenever asked, the department instead answers with data showing that prior infection plus vaccination is more protective than prior infection alone.

On Twitter Monday, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said the requested data is "less helpful than studies that compare protection between unvaccinated and vaccinated people with prior infection." He did not say why this data is not being disclosed and whether the city is indeed tracking it.

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