A pandemic start to the season
The Mets’ first game of the season, a Thursday night matchup against the Washington Nationals, was postponed because of the hosts’ COVID-19 problems and “ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization,” Major League Baseball announced.
The Nationals had one player test positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, general manager Mike Rizzo announced, and several others had to quarantine after being deemed close contacts.
The coronavirus issues are limited to the Nationals, sources said. The Mets do not have any positive tests.
The teams won’t play until Saturday at the earliest. Friday will remain a previously scheduled off day.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the game will not be made up on Friday,” MLB said in its release.
The number of new positives reported today: 689 in Nassau, 764 in Suffolk, 4,322 in New York City and 8,888 statewide.
The chart below 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.
Search a map of new cases and view charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.
Cuomo hails vaccination milestone
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that New York has administered 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the last seven days, a record since the state began inoculating people in December.
The governor hailed the milestone as New York races to vaccinate enough people before more contagious and possibly more lethal variants of the virus take hold.
Nassau County marked its own milestone, as County Executive Laura Curran announced that 500,000 residents have received their first COVID-19 shot.
A total of 9.5 million vaccines have been injected into people’s arms since December, Cuomo said.
Demand still far outstrips supply, he said, and New York needs many more dosages than it is receiving. Cuomo urged people to “remain patient” and not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.
Data: Pfizer shot highly effective after 6 months
Pfizer Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine remained highly effective after six months, according to new long-term results that the company said could be used to seek an expansion of its regulatory status.
Follow-up data from a final-stage trial of 46,307 people showed the vaccine was 91.3% effective in preventing symptomatic cases starting one week after the second dose through as long as six months. In the U.S. the efficacy rate was 92.6%, according to a report Thursday by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE.
At the same time, the companies provided some of the first data on how their vaccine might handle the immune-evading B.1.351 variant that arose in South Africa. Nine of 800 trial participants in that country got sick with COVID-19, including six infected with B.1.351. However, all were in the placebo group, suggesting the shot retains efficacy against the variant.
‘It protects the inmates,’ sheriff says
Long Island officials say they began taking steps to provide all inmates at county jails with the COVID-19 vaccine weeks ago, even before a Bronx judge ordered authorities to offer the shots to incarcerated people on Monday.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, who manages jails in Yaphank and Riverhead, said 100 inmates will be offered the vaccine this week, while another 100 will be offered it next week.
Sheriff James Dzurenda, who oversees the Nassau County Correctional Facility in East Meadow, said his staff also began preparations weeks ago and will start offering inoculations to inmates as soon as it receives a supply of the vaccine.
“It is a goal of ours to get it done as fast as we can,” Dzurenda said. “It protects the inmates, it protects the staff and it protects the community.”
Both sheriffs said they will provide inmates with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it requires just one inoculation and corrections officials won’t have to track them down if they are released before they receive their second dose.
Outdoor market just what Lindenhurst needed during COVID
A Lindenhurst outdoor market that became a lifeline for businesses and a refuge for shoppers during the pandemic has become so successful it’s about to expand as it enters a second season.
The American Venice Open Air Market started out as a farmers market but evolved into something not only larger in size and product but also in mission. Struggling small businesses had a place to sell their merchandise, cooped-up residents briefly escaped the pandemic for a few hours and local groups found a place to safely fundraise.
“We grew the market into so much more than just a market,” said manager Darlene Perez Fantel. “It’s a community.”
Middle school teacher Jenn Mattison, 56, of Wantagh, found herself without a job after summer school was canceled and “had to find a way to pay my rent.” She started a crafts company, Handmade By Me 11793, and found success at the market as well as a new community.
“It’s not just a bunch of vendors in a lot, it’s a family,” she said. “We take care of each other.”
More to know
Emergent BioSolutions, the little-known company at the center of quality problems that led Johnson & Johnson to discard an unknown amount of its coronavirus vaccine, has a string of citations from U.S. health officials for quality control problems.
A husband and wife reunited to celebrate his birthday after COVID-19 restrictions kept them apart. “I was very lonesome,” said Rene Mennes, a resident of the Oasis Rehabilitation and Nursing facility in Center Moriches.
See scenes from the Yankees’ Opening Day game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx.
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“We’re moving in the right direction.” Though much remains unknown about the coronavirus, the good news is tried and true protections work, experts said on a Newsday Live webinar Wednesday.
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Vaccine passport idea deserves support. Connor Wielgos writes for the Progressive Media Project: During his prime-time address to the nation in mid-March, President Joe Biden invoked a Rockwellian image of a post-pandemic United States. By this summer, he promised, we could again be gathering in small groups to enjoy barbecues in our backyards and fireworks on the Fourth of July.
However, the nirvana of a healthy United States will likely come with a few strings attached.
Throughout the first year of COVID-19 wreaking havoc across the country, we saw many governors drop the ball. Too many pundits and politicians downplayed the severity of the virus, including former President Donald Trump, who blatantly admitted as much during an interview with Bob Woodward. Now, with many people readily accepting such misinformation, the vaccine rollout accelerates alongside a surge of misinformation surrounding the still-dangerous virus. Keep reading.