The city’s COVID-19 positivity rate continued to tick up, hitting 7.45%, as the city's coronavirus death toll surpassed 25,000, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
"It's incredibly painful," de Blasio said. "We can never get numb to just how horrible this has been, and I think the one thing it makes me feel in particular is resolved to protect every single New Yorker right now with this vaccine and to make sure people know it is safe and is effective and it's going to be available widely."
"We're going to turn the page on this godforsaken year," he said later during his daily briefing.
Though the mayor emphasized caution with the latest infection rate numbers from the city's Department of Health due to changes in testing patterns over the holiday week, he still urged people to avoid travel as we get closer to the New Year holiday.
“We’ve talked a lot about travel,” he said. “It’s still going to be an issue up through next weekend. I’m going to continue to say if you don’t need to travel—don’t”
The mayor also outlined the city's plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines this week and next week.
Urgent care staff treating COVID-19 patients, staff administering the COVID-19 vaccine and all previously included groups such as health care workers and nursing home residents and staff will be able to receive the vaccine this week.
Next week, the groups eligible for the vaccine will expand to include people that work at places such as dialysis centers, ambulatory care sites, and health care workers at COVID-19 testing sites.
The mayor called the vaccination campaign the “largest vaccination effort in the history of New York City.”
“It’s off to a strong start and it’s going to build up more and more each week,” he said at his daily press briefing Tuesday.
Last week, the city saw the highest number of COVID-19 vaccinations in a single day at 12,515. The city’s total vaccinations are now at 67,116.
In terms of the plan for those next in line to receive the vaccination, including the police department, the mayor said his office is waiting on state rules before moving forward.
“I want to see us get to our first responders as quickly as possible so we’re waiting for that state guidance to be clarified and as soon as it is we’ll get that effort underway,” Mayor de Blasio said.