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Going back to the office: LIers are split

Going back to the office: LIers are split 1

Do Long Islanders want a return to the office? It’s not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Many employees say their companies are dangling a date of the day after Labor Day for some sort of return to the office — either under a hybrid plan or a full-fledged reopening. For many who haven’t been back to the office since March 2020, some can wait to go back and others can’t.

In one corner are employees such as KimMarie Vazquez, 49, of Patchogue, who’s been working remotely but is supposed return as an administrative assistant at a Manhattan law firm in September.

“I keep saying to my co-workers, ‘I have no idea how I’m going to go back. It’s going to kill me.’ Not literally, but it’s going to be very hard. Mentally it’s a very draining, draining day,” Vazquez said.

In the other corner are workers such as Angelina Ojeda, 38, of Farmingdale, a single mother who works for a marketing firm in Great Neck. She tried working from home during the pandemic and described it as “the worst two weeks of my life.”

“There are too many distractions. You can’t get anything done,” she said. “I’ve been ready. It’s good to see faces. It rebuilds those connections.”

Read more about Long Islanders’ feelings on the return to work — and what some employers have planned — in this story by Newsday’s Beth Whitehouse.

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Plus: Newsday Live hosted a webinar Wednesday about returning to the office. Local experts discussed hybrid schedules, vaccinated vs. unvaccinated employees and more. Watch the replay.

The number of new positives reported today: 17 in Nassau, 13 in Suffolk, 214 in New York City and 345 statewide.

The chart below shows the seven-day average positivity rate across Long Island each day during this month.

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

LIRR president: Weekend riders flocking back

Weekend travelers are returning to the railroad in big numbers, reports Newsday’s Alfonso A. Castillo.

For the second week in a row, the LIRR’s Sunday ridership reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with more than 75,000 passengers. The railroad also carried 76,600 riders on Saturday. On Friday, 126,700 took the LIRR — the most of any day since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

LIRR president Phillip Eng said the recent ridership figures are “a really good sign of things to come.”

“We are seeing very robust discretionary travel. It’s showing that if there’s a place to go … people are riding,” Eng said.

Pandemic rise in sales sparks worry about new boaters on the water

With a spike in sales during the pandemic, there’s worry about more boats in hands of inexperienced operators and what it means for safety on Long Island’s waters this Fourth of July weekend.

Suffolk County Acting Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron on Tuesday urged caution, particularly for new boaters or those with poor training — or none at all, writes Newsday’s Matthew Chayes. Cameron said one of the top factors in boating crashes is “poor decision making” — particularly fueled by alcohol consumption.

“There is never just one beer,” he said at a news conference to promote boating safety. “One beer always turns into two, and then your decision-making ability starts to degrade from there.”

More to know

Russia President Vladimir Putin revealed he received the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine earlier this year, stressing the importance of getting vaccinated amid a surge of new cases and deaths in the country.

Africa’s rural areas are getting hit with a new surge of the virus — where most of the continent’s people live — spreading to areas that once were viewed as safe havens from infections that hit cities particularly hard.

Millions stayed home from places of worship during the pandemic, but how many will return? As the pandemic recedes in the U.S. and in-person services resume, worries of a slide in attendance are universal.

News for you

Getting out, but not too far. There’s much to explore in New York State, from mountains to lakes, farms, forests and adventure parks. We’ve got five mini-vacation ideas, equipped with new and fun things to do during a family-friendly — and affordable — trip around the state.

Your choice of LI farm stands. Farm stands on Long Island provide the freshest possible produce all summer long. Here’s a list of them so you know where to go in your area.

The next virtual event on Newsday Live: Ticks. Join us for a Newsday Live virtual discussion on Thursday all about ticks. Local experts will discuss the infestation on Long Island, diseases they can spread and the best way to protect yourself. Register here.

Plus: We’ve got an updated guide for things to do in New York City.


Delta variant adds urgency to nation’s COVID-19 response. Columnist Mohamed A. El-Erian writes for Bloomberg Opinion: Over the weekend, Sydney was put under a mandatory stay-at-home order for two weeks in response to the risk posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19. This came as a surprise to many, especially those who rightly view Australia as having been among the best in managing COVID, with its very low infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Australia was not the only recent COVID surprise in advanced countries. Israel, long a vaccination leader, reimposed an indoor-mask requirement last Friday. Once again, the catalyst was the Delta variant. Then there was the UK, which, other than India, has been battling longest against Delta. According to government reports, the number of Delta infections rose 46% in just one week. Indeed, whether it is the evidence from there or the reactions of Australia and Israel, four issues should be front and center for many more countries, including the U.S., which need to realize that new COVID risks are likely and do not respect borders.

Delta is the most infectious variant so far, especially among the nonvaccinated segments of the population. But it also hits the vaccinated, including the doubled-jabbed who, according to UK data, made up as much as 20% of those infected with Delta.

Fortunately, the health consequences of the Delta variant in advanced countries appear less severe so far. This is due in part to a better understanding of COVID-19 some 18 months into the pandemic. But most important is vaccination: While it has not totally broken the link between infections on the one hand and hospitalizations and deaths on the other, it has significantly weakened it. So far, a lot fewer of those testing positive have ended up in the hospital or worse because they were vaccinated. Uncertainty remains, however, about the risks of “long COVID” effects. Keep reading.

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