New York state has recorded more than 1 million positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to figures released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday.
The roughly 15,000 new positive tests reported statewide on Friday bring the total number of cases over 1 million, according to the state’s data. Experts say the official number of coronavirus cases represents a significant undercount, since many people in the New York City area were infected with the coronavirus last spring when testing was largely unavailable.
New York is the fourth state to report more than 1 million positive COVID-19 tests after California, Texas and Florida. New York reported 128 COVID-19 deaths on Friday.
Holiday travel has been top of mind for New York’s governor, who alongside governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, has repeated warnings of a post-holiday surge if people don’t stay home or prioritize safe practices.
On Saturday, the TSA recorded its second-highest number of travelers since the start of the pandemic, falling short of its record set two days after Christmas. The weekend number is a little higher than half of the total travelers recorded on the same day (Jan. 2) of last year.
Air travel became another alarming obstacle in the battle against COVID-19 as officials hurried to implement new testing requirements for traveling now that two new, more contagious viral strains have been confirmed in a number of different countries, including the U.S.
Cuomo has ordered hospitals across the state to test for the U.K. variant, which was first detected in the U.S., in Colorado, this week. That state is already investigating its second suspected case. California has now found one, too.
“We’re also preparing a massive vaccination program. The vaccine works, but it only works if we take it. We are told that we need to vaccinate 70-90 percent of New Yorkers for it to be effective,” Cuomo said Sunday.
At least 236,000 people in New York state received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, that’s according to a CDC online tracker. That number accounts for nearly one-third of the total vaccine distributed to the state so far.
Across the tri-state, the CDC says 402,604 people had received their first dose as of Saturday. Nationwide, a little more than four million people are part of that community. New York trails 21 other states in the number of people vaccinated per 100,000 residents (Pennsylvania is tied with New York).
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that President-elect Joe Biden’s pledge to administer 100 million shots of the vaccine within his first 100 days in office is achievable.