New York fully reopens, citing high vaccination rate


Ed Yourdon

Ed Yourdon | Flickr

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on June 15 that all state COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted since 70% of the population aged 18 or older has received at least the first dose of  the COVID-19 vaccine.

“What does 70% mean? That means that we can now return to life as we know it,” Cuomo said, according to the New York Post.

“All the state-mandated restrictions are lifted on commercial social settings, sports and recreation construction, manufacturing, retail buildings, all across the board we can get back to living and businesses can open, because the state mandates are gone, social gathering restrictions, capacity restrictions, the health screenings, [and] the cleaning and disinfecting protocols,” he added.

The positivity rate on June 9 was 0.48%, and it was considered the lowest in the country, according to John Hopkins University data.

Cuomo made an appearance at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, where he spoke about the reopening process for New York and said the state was close to “liberation.”

That announcement came around the same time Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press briefing regarding  New York City’s vaccination goal.

“It’s gonna be very very tough at this point to hit 5 million by the end of June,” said Mayor de Blasio. De Blasio placed blame on the federal government for halting the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over safety concerns.

De Blasio and other health officials have credited  the city’s vaccination efforts for reducing key indicators of COVID-19 across the city, including hospitalization rate, new cases, deaths and positive test rates, Spectrum News reports.

For those already vaccinated, several COVID-19 restrictions have already been lifted, including the need to practice 6 feet social distancing and wearing a mask in certain areas.

Gov. Cuomo encouraged New York to turn its attention to Zip codes in the state that have the lowest percentage of people vaccinated, CNYCentral reports.

“Focus your resources there,” Cuomo said. “That is where we have the greatest chance for advancement, and the local governments have the resources.”

Prior to the recent reopening, many businesses were still operating with a capacity limit, contact tracing and health screening.

David Abramson, a professor of public health at New York University who also studies how populations recover from major viruses, said that New York is taking the right steps to combat

COVID-19.“We’re heading absolutely in the right direction,” said Abramson, according to Spectrum News.“There does seem to be a residual number of people getting COVID that suggests that there’s still a pool of virus in the community.”