TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
Opinion

Tracking Long Island's COVID-19 vaccine progress

Credit: Don Pollard

Daily Point

Which of our state lawmakers got their shots?

The majority of Long Island’s state lawmakers have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, a roundup by The Point has shown.

Six state senators told The Point they’ve been vaccinated, including all five Democrats – Todd Kaminsky, Anna Kaplan, John Brooks, Jim Gaughran and Kevin Thomas. Republican Phil Boyle said he just got his second shot last week.

Republican State Senator Alexis Weik refused to answer The Point’s questions, as a spokeswoman wrote in an email that Weik "feels your questions violate her HIPA (sic) rights."

Republican State Sen. Anthony Palumbo, through a spokesman, declined to comment as well.

State Sen. Mario Mattera, also a Republican, told The Point he contracted COVID-19 two weeks ago. He noted that he has spent the last several months "working hard to get everyone vaccinated who wanted it" in his district — but did not get the vaccine himself. Now, he has to wait 90 days before he would be eligible. But Mattera told The Point he wasn’t committing to getting the shot even when he’s able.

"That’s a privacy issue," he said. "It’s my prerogative. It’s my right to do that on my own. I really just care about my whole district — whoever wants it — being vaccinated."

Added Mattera: "I have 90 days to reevaluate what I’m going to be doing. I’m going to be considering it very highly."

On the Assembly side, 15 of Long Island’s 22 members — Fred Thiele, Jodi Giglio, Joe DeStefano, Steve Englebright, Doug Smith, Phil Ramos, Jarett Gandolfo, Michael Fitzpatrick, Steve Stern, Charles Lavine, David McDonough, Michael Montesano, Gina Sillitti, Melissa Miller and Judy Griffin – have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Two others, Michael Durso and Edward Ra, said they have their appointments scheduled.

There are several members of the Assembly who haven’t yet had or scheduled their shots, or are waiting, for a variety of reasons. A staff member for Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre, for instance, said she is hoping to get her shot at a local community clinic so she can encourage others to do the same. Durso, similarly, noted that while he has an appointment in April, he is holding a mobile health clinic in May that will offer shots to those who pre-register, and he may wait to get his shot as part of that mobile effort.

Assemb. Keith Brown told The Point he’s waiting for his now 15-year-old son to turn 16 at the end of April, so that the two can get their shots together. Brown said he thinks "people need to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity," and has been trying to do outreach in his district to encourage it. Assemb. John Mikulin said he hasn’t yet made a vaccine appointment, either, but "I intend to, yes, absolutely."

And Assemb. Taylor Darling said she hasn’t gotten the vaccine because she is pregnant and due in May, but, she added, she has no plans to get it going forward, either, in part because she plans to breastfeed. She added that she wants her constituents "to do your due diligence. I want to make sure whatever option you choose is available."

Assemb. Michaelle Solages said she hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, either.

"I plan on taking the vaccine once it’s readily available to all New Yorkers," Solages told The Point. "Many of my constituents are still having issues accessing the vaccine."

Englebright took a different view. He said he would have gotten the shots as soon as he qualified, but had COVID-19 in January and had to wait. He just recently got his second shot.

"It’s vital," Englebright said of the vaccine. "It’ll enable us to get our economy and the structure of our society back in order."

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

Our custom map details which Suffolk communities have the most residents with COVID-19 vaccinations

A look at the Suffolk County residents who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 shows that the county’s effort to target communities with large minority populations, or those hardest hit by the pandemic, seems to be working.

Of the 452,733 Suffolk County residents who had been vaccinated as of April 6, 38,893 residents, or about 8.6%, come from two ZIP codes – 11746 and 11743, home to communities like Huntington Station, Elwood, Dix Hills and South Huntington.

Another 26,714 vaccinated residents, or about 6%, came from ZIP codes 11706 and 11717, which include communities like Brentwood and Bay Shore.

Of course, in all of those ZIP codes, there are pockets of affluence, as well.

Click here to read more and interact with the map.

—Randi F. Marshall and Kai Teoh @RandiMarshall and @jkteoh

Pencil Point

Rest in peace

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Quick Points

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer got in trouble with some Michigan residents early in the pandemic because of her tough restrictions to combat the coronavirus. A year later, hamstrung by the Michigan Supreme Court on issuing new orders, she’s asking for voluntary adherence to guidelines – and Michigan is in trouble, with the nation’s worst outbreak of COVID-19. Sometimes honey works, but sometimes you need vinegar.
  • A major fundraiser attending the Republican Party’s donor retreat in Florida said former President Donald Trump’s decision to continue his grip on the GOP is "a tremendous complication." Is it any more of a complication than the previous four years with Trump when the party lost the House, the Senate and the White House?
  • After state lawmakers passed a $212 billion budget that represented a spending hike of nearly 10%, Fordham University professor Zephyr Teachout, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s primary opponent in 2014, said, "This isn’t Andrew Cuomo’s budget anymore." Time will tell whether that’s something to celebrate or rue.
  • After Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver to protest Georgia’s new voting restrictions, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said companies should "stay out of politics." A few days later, more than 100 chief executives and business leaders held an online meeting to discuss other actions to fight against other controversial state voting bills. Is Mitch’s bark losing its bite?
  • In a speech before the Republican National Committee, former President Donald Trump excoriated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him a "dumb son of a bitch," criticized former Vice President Mike Pence and Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, then made a pitch for party unity. Clearly, Trump’s not looking to unify the entire party.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Columns