Coronavirus in New York

Dr. Craig Spencer: Is the worst of the omicron surge over?

BY Spectrum News Staff

The coronavirus wave, driven by the omicron variant, seems to finally be peaking in New York, but experts are warning about the situation in hospitals, where an exhausted workforce is still having to deal with an influx of new patients. One of the ER doctors sounding the alarm is Dr. Craig Spencer, who has been on the frontlines of the pandemic since the very beginning. He joined Errol to share his takeaways from the latest surge and explain the many lessons yet to be learned from the pandemic. Dr. Spencer, who is the director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, also shared his experience treating Ebola patients in West Africa and testing positive for the virus after coming back to the city in 2014.

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MTA restores service on 6 subway lines after COVID-19-related crew shortages

BY Justin Izzo
UPDATED 9:07 AM ET Jan. 19, 2022

NEW YORK — The MTA says service on the B and Z lines, express service on the J, 6 and 7 lines, and the rush-hour Rockaway Park branch of the A have been restored as of Wednesday.

Service on those routes had been suspended amid staffing shortages starting on Jan. 5 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.

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'It feels like we’re getting abandoned': Nurses call for safer working conditions

BY Ron Lee

Nurses in the city and across the country stood united Thursday, speaking out to make sure that their demands and concerns for a safe work place are heard.

“We’re tired of being put in situations where we have to make terrible choices because we don’t have resources,” said Kelley Cabrera, a registered nurse who works in the emergency room at Jacobi Medical Center. “We don’t have enough people, we don’t have enough equipment, we don’t have staff. That is not appropriate.”

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New documentary chronicles Broadway reopening after COVID-19 shutdown

BY Nina Godfrey

This past September marked a historic moment for the Broadway community. After more than a year and a half of being shut down due to COVID, Broadway shows like “Waitress,” “Hamilton,” “Wicked" and more started to reopen weekly in September.

“On Stage” host Frank DiLella documented this exact moment and he’s about to present it next week on PBS with his new film, "Reopening: The Broadway Revival," featuring an all-star cast.

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What to know about insurance coverage for at-home COVID tests

BY Stef Manisero

This week, the Biden administration announced a policy requiring health plans to cover the cost of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests.

For people with private health insurance, which is about 45% of the U.S. population, those costs will be covered starting Saturday, January 15.

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Health Commissioner Dr. Choksi answers your omicron questions

BY Spectrum News Staff

How long should you wait to get a booster shot if you’ve recently had COVID? What qualifies as a “high quality” mask? And how do parents with children under the age of five best protect their kids from COVID?

In a one-on-one interview on “Inside City Hall” with NY1 political anchor Errol Louis, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi answers these questions and others, as the five boroughs continue to grapple with the latest surge of omicron cases.

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Hundreds of students walk out of class, calling for a remote option

BY Jillian Jorgensen
UPDATED 5:28 PM ET Jan. 11, 2022

Hundreds of students walked out Brooklyn Technical High School Tuesday — a show of frustration at current coronavirus policies and of support for a remote option at the nation’s largest high school.

Students walked out of the school, which serves 6,000 students from around the five boroughs and is among the city’s most prestigious, at 11:52 a.m., as part of what was planned as a citywide walkout amid a massive surge of omicron cases among students and staff in public schools.

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Broadway's mask and vaccination policy is now extended to April 30

BY Ariella Weintraub

NEW YORK — The Broadway League announced Monday that all 41 Broadway theatres in New York City are extending their mask and vaccine requirements through April 30, 2022.

All audience members ages 12 and up are required to have been vaccinated at least 14 days before the date of their performance with their second dose of a two dose COVID-19 vaccine or with a single dose of an approved single dose COVID-19 vaccine.

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NY Rep. Ocasio-Cortez recovering after positive COVID test

BY Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has tested positive for COVID-19 and “is experiencing symptoms and recovering at home,” her office said in a statement Sunday evening.

The Democratic congresswoman’s office said Ocasio-Cortez received a booster shot last fall, adding that she “encourages everyone to get their booster” and follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Predicting the future of the workforce as the pandemic continues

BY Ruschell Boone and Alexa Speciale

Throughout the pandemic, employers from large corporations to small businesses have been struggling to fill open positions. Employers are concerned about how long these staffing issues could last.

NY1’s Ruschell Boone sat down with a labor market analyst and trend spotter, Jared Coseglia. The CEO and owner of Tru Staffing Partners, Inc. talked about what both employers and employees can expect from the future of the workforce.

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Hochul mandates boosters for health care workers

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman

Health care workers in New York state will now be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday.

The new mandate, the first of its kind in the country, will not have a testing option, and will allow medical exemptions, but not religious exemptions. Health care workers will be required to get a booster shot within two weeks of becoming eligible for it.

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As hospitals attempt to prevent overcrowding, doctors advocate for virtual visits when possible

BY Dan Rivoli

Mount Sinai Hospital is trying to prevent crowding in its emergency rooms, where doctors estimate seeing at least one in five patients who are experiencing mild sickness, including COVID-19 symptoms, making them candidates for a virtual doctor visit.

"We're definitely seeing a lot of people right now who are having mild symptoms,” Dr. Erick Eiting, an emergency medicine physician at mount Sinai Beth Israel, said. “Some of them may be the flu, some of them may be a variety of viruses, and some of those are indeed turning out to be COVID patients.”

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Are throat swabs a useful tool in detecting COVID?

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

It’s a trend sweeping across social media, #SwabYourThroat.

It’s based off an anecdotal experiment: swabbing the nose and then separately the throat with an at-home rapid COVID-19 antigen test kit.

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Mayor Adams announces a shot in the arm for city hospitals

BY Bobby Cuza

Elmhurst Hospital in Queens was battered in the early days of the pandemic, overwhelmed by a crush of COVID-19 patients. Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams paid a visit there to announce a different sort of surge: an influx of funding.

“Finding the dollars and the money to ensure that we maintain proper staffing in our hospitals, this is crucial,” Mayor Adams said at a news conference.

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Subway service slowed due to COVID-related staffing shortages

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

Service on several subway lines was suspended Wednesday. The MTA stopped running the W, B and Z lines, and express service on multiple lines went local.

"We're running as much service as we can with the train crews we have available,” the MTA said on its website.

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David Bloomfield: In the middle of a pandemic, what do New York City students need?

BY Spectrum News Staff

For the second year in a row, New York City schools are back in session after the winter break amid a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases — this time caused by the highly contagious omicron variant. Keeping schools open for in-person learning is a controversial move, but the new mayor, Eric Adams, and his schools chancellor are sticking to it. Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center education professor David Bloomfield joined Errol to weigh in on the debate over school closures and talk about the many other deep-rooted problems the city’s Department of Education still needs to confront. Bloomfield argues that Chancellor David Banks needs to focus on tackling school segregation, but is he willing to take on that fight?

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Staten Islanders say COVID surge is outpacing borough's testing capacity

BY Victoria Manna

According to the latest data from the Department of Health, Staten Island has the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, making it the borough with the highest rate of transmission.

Staten Island has the most city-run sites per capita in New York City, but residents say it's not enough, based on the amount of cases the borough is seeing.

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Another nearly 13,000 COVID cases reported among students and staff, most over break

BY Jillian Jorgensen

NEW YORK — Another 12,723 cases of coronavirus among students and staff in public schools were called in to the city’s Situation Room Tuesday, but the city says 85% of tests were administered during the winter break.

In all, the Department of Education is reporting that there have been 61,453 cases since September, up from 21,828 cases that had been logged as of Dec. 22.

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Without employees in the office, surrounding small businesses struggle

BY Stef Manisero

This first week in January was supposed to be the week many New Yorkers returned to the office. But with the surge in COVID-19 cases, many of those returns have been pushed back, yet again.

It’s just one more blow to restaurants and small businesses who rely on those employees for the business.

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City agencies hit hard by COVID-19-related staff shortages

BY Bobby Cuza

Eric Adams may have been elected to take charge of a municipal workforce that numbers 300,000. But as he stepped into the role of mayor last weekend, he confronted a crisis: that workforce has been depleted by the COVID-19 surge currently sweeping the city.



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LaGuardia travelers endure long COVID-19 test wait times in frigid temperatures

BY Edric Robinson

With luggage in hand, Joel Wilson waited on a long line at LaGuardia Airport Tuesday, but not to board his plane. He waited in line to get his COVID-19 test, a requirement to board his flight back to Jamaica.

“I’m still at the back of the line and I still have another 45 minutes left,” Wilson said. “I got tested two days ago, CVS, and still haven’t received my result. This is my backup."

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Adams wants businesses to bring office workers back

BY Anna Lucente Sterling

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday called on businesses across the city to bring office workers back sooner than a spring timeline, calling the delay “devastating for our economy.”

With the spread of the omicron variant across the city, Adams said many businesses told him that their employees do not want to return to the office.

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Nearly 14,000 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since winter break began, city says

BY Jillian Jorgensen

Nearly 14,000 cases of coronavirus in students and staff have been reported to the city’s situation room since Dec. 23, a period of time that falls mainly during the system’s winter break when students were at home.

The situation room logged 13,963 reports from principals of positive cases over the course of 12 days, a significant surge in cases compared to earlier in the year. In the three months between Sept. 13 and Dec. 22, there had been just 21,828 cases reported.

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Schools chancellor confident attendance rate will rise

BY Patrick Adcroft

Despite a 67% attendance rate on the first day back after winter break, Schools Chancellor David Banks said Monday’s return to classrooms went “extremely well” and that he’s confident in the city’s expanded COVID-19 testing program at public schools.

Speaking with NY1 political anchor and host of “Inside City Hall” Errol Louis, Banks said city schools had “over 600,000 young people who came to school today,” and added that he expects attendance numbers to rise in the coming days.

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Key to Eric Adams' plan to fight COVID? The ability to adapt

BY Emily Ngo

Adaptability has been central to Eric Adams’ life, career and first days as mayor. And it’s the mindset he’s asking New Yorkers to adopt amid the omicron surge.

“We’re going to pivot, we’re going to shift, we’re going to adjust,” he told reporters Monday after visiting a school in the Bronx. “We’re going to get it done. That’s the bottom line.”

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NYC airline employee claims unsafe working conditions amid staffing crunch

BY Victoria Manna
UPDATED 10:25 AM ET Jan. 03, 2022

NEW YORK — An airline worker who spoke to NY1 on the condition of anonymity out of fear of repercussions says staffing shortages caused by an uptick in COVID cases in the city are causing dangerous work conditions.

“The staff shortages are forcing them to do crazy things right now,” the airline worker said. He has been working at JFK Airport for six years.

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New York state reports over 85,000 positive COVID cases, setting new record

BY Patrick Adcroft

New York state has once again set a record for new daily COVID-19 cases, now passing the 85,000 mark as the omicron variant continues to spread.

The state reported 85,476 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday, Jan. 1. The previous record, set the day prior, was 76,555.

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City pauses at-home COVID test kits for groups that help people with disabilities

BY Dan Rivoli

Days after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that community-based organizations would get at-home COVID tests to hand out, Michelle sabatino, the head of the Staten Island Center for Independent Living got an email from an official with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

The Dec. 21 email said the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities would “most likely receive a shipment of COVID-19 Self-Test kits later this week or early next week,” and wanted to know what groups wanted to request them.

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'We must allow our city to function': Mayor-elect Adams says private-sector vaccine mandate will continue

BY Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 3:50 PM ET Dec. 30, 2021

NEW YORK — Mayor-elect Eric Adams will continue a vaccine mandate for private sector employees that went into effect Monday under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the incoming administration announced at a Thursday news conference.

The mandate requires all employees of private businesses to be vaccinated and that employers keep a full record of their workers’ vaccination statuses.

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Five new state-run COVID-19 testing sites open in NYC

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — New York state opened one COVID-19 testing site in each of the five boroughs on Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

State-run testing sites are up and running at the following five sites, Hochul said in a press release:

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City agencies face staffing shortages amid rise in COVID cases

BY Justine Re
UPDATED 7:16 AM ET Dec. 29, 2021

NEW YORK — The rise in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant has caused staffing shortages across multiple city agencies.

The NYPD Tuesday night announced they will be cancelling regularly scheduled days off for uniformed members on both Friday, Dec. 31 and Saturday, Jan. 1.

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As COVID cases increase, so do parents’ concerns

BY Stef Manisero

The rising number of kids hospitalized with COVID-19 has parents, understandably, concerned.

“This is actually our second year being quarantined over Christmas,” said Juliet Davis, a Brooklyn mother of four.

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7 more CityMD locations to temporarily close, bringing city total to 20

BY Faraz Toor and Spectrum News NY1
UPDATED 8:19 PM ET Dec. 28, 2021

NEW YORK — Citing staffing issues amid a surge in demand, CityMD will temporarily close an additional seven locations in the city after originally closing 13 outlets early last week, the company said Tuesday evening.

Below, you’ll find an updated list of locations closed or set to be closed come Wednesday:

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City’s hospitalization rate ticks upward, as COVID rates climb

BY Spectrum News Staff

New York City’s hospitalization rate continued ticking upwards Tuesday, as the omicron COVID-19 variant spreads across the five boroughs.

The latest numbers from the mayor's office show the city’s seven-day average hospitalization rate is now at 4.76 per 100,000 people, with 332 new patients admitted to city hospitals for coronavirus on Monday.

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Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise as omicron spreads

BY Rachel Tillman

An increasing number of young children are being hospitalized with COVID-19 across the United States, thanks in part to the omicron variant sweeping the nation.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 increased by 30% between Dec. 18 and Dec. 25, the most recent date for which data is available. That’s an average of about 260 children being admitted to the hospital each day.

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City to double COVID testing in schools, hand out rapid tests with 'Stay Safe and Stay Open' plan

BY Jillian Jorgensen and Ari Ephraim Feldman
UPDATED 12:35 PM ET Dec. 28, 2021

NEW YORK — As coronavirus cases increase among school-aged children, the city will ramp up its surveillance testing in schools with a new push officials are calling "Stay Safe and Stay Open."

The number of students being randomly tested for coronavirus will double from 40,000 to 80,000, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday, and will now include both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations in NY surpass 5K for first time since February, pediatric cases surge

BY Amy Yensi

NEW YORK — At the start of the pandemic, the overall consensus was that older patients are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and children are not as affected. That conclusion is being tested by the highly infectious omicron variant.

Health officials express concern that hospitalizations in the state have topped 5,550 for first time since late February and the number of children testing positive for COVID-19 has also shot up in recent days.

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COVID-19 testing sites open at two major transit hubs

BY Stef Manisero

More pop-up COVID-19 testing sites opened across the city Monday, with two of them appearing at major transit hubs: one at the 42nd Street-Times Square subway station and the other at Grand Central Terminal.

Winnifred Lee was one of the first people to get swabbed at Grand Central. She lives in Washington Heights, but says the accessibility, plus the fact this location was indoors, was incentive enough for her to make the trip.

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Your guide to the coronavirus variants, from alpha to omicron

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 3:52 PM ET Dec. 27, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world looks a lot different than it used to. And so does the coronavirus itself.

As it’s infected hundreds of millions of people around the globe, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been in a state of constant change, making small tweaks to its genetic code as it goes along.

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NYC to open additional COVID-19 testing sites

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman and Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — The city is set to open seven of its own COVID-19 testing sites next week, including two newly announced sites in Queens.

Starting Monday, a site at Culture Lab in Long Island City will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and a site at Beach Channel Education Campus in Far Rockaway will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced Friday night. Both sites will offer free PCR tests.

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National Action Network serves Christmas meals, offers COVID-19 testing

BY Rebecca Greenberg

NEW YORK — Rev. Al Sharpton helped serve up holiday cheer on Christmas Day.

"Christmas is not about what you get; it's about what you give," Sharpton said. He was joined by Mayor-elect Eric Adams and Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, who volunteered to feed the hungry in Harlem on Saturday.

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Midnight Christmas Mass held at full capacity at St. Patrick's Cathedral amid COVID-19 surge

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press

NEW YORK — Thousands returned to the pews of St. Patrick's Cathedral for the midnight Christmas Mass.

The Mass in Midtown was held at full capacity despite the recent COVID-19 surge. Parishioners were required to wear masks, and some traditions, including the sign of peace handshake and sacramental wine distribution, were omitted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Brooklyn Diocese holds in-person Christmas Eve Mass amid omicron fears

BY Rebecca Greenberg

NEW YORK — Joy and togetherness were in the air on Christmas Eve as the faithful gathered for Friday night Mass.

"You do get a special feeling, having the community around you and being able to celebrate with family and actually being able to participate," said Bobby Shoule, who attended services with his family.

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Health expert: Unvaccinated New Yorkers should not travel for the holidays

BY Monica Espitia

NEW YORK — Several new COVID-19 testing sites, including three administered by the federal government, have opened across the city, as many New Yorkers are struggling to secure a test before they travel or gather with loved ones for the holiday season.

Dr. Sanjiv Shah, the chief medical officer of MetroPlus Health, joined Bobby Cuza on “Inside City Hall” on Thursday evening to explain what we can all do to minimize risks.

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New York state reports over 44,000 positive COVID-19 cases amid winter surge

BY Faraz Toor

New York state has once again set a record for new daily COVID-19 cases, now passing the 40,000 mark as the omicron variant spreads.

The state reported 44,431 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Friday. The previous record, set on Thursday, was 38,835, which was substantially higher than the previous record of 28,942 that was set Wednesday.

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Nurses choosing not to get vaccinated say they’re stuck in limbo

BY Clodagh McGowan

Sheila Connors-Cardinale has been a registered nurse for 42 years.

“I love helping people. I love what I do. I love the people I work with, to me, there’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone and letting them know that I’m going to take good care of them,” said Connors-Cardinale.

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De Blasio: Times Square to host 'scaled back' NYE celebration

BY Maya Rajamani and Dan Rivoli
UPDATED 12:26 AM ET Dec. 24, 2021

NEW YORK — Times Square will host approximately 43,000 fewer people than normal and require revelers to be fully vaccinated and masked as part of a “scaled back” New Year’s Eve celebration, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

Around 15,000 people will be allowed to attend this year’s celebration at the Crossroads of the World, down from the usual 58,000, de Blasio said in a press release.

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Some in shelters urge NYC to let them go back to hotels amid COVID-19 surge

BY Edric Robinson

NEW YORK — Alison Gibney says she and others who are currently being housed at group setting shelters in the city are growing more nervous as COVID-19 cases increase.

“We have followed all of their guidelines, got their vaccinations, got our boosters, we’re wearing our masks, we're washing our hands, we’re trying to maintain distance, but that is simply impossible in a room with 15 women at night,” Gibney said.

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Health experts warn against large gatherings for Christmas

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and the most infectious.

As COVID-19 cases surge across the New York City area, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, families and friends are debating whether and how to gather for Christmas and New Year's Eve.

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NYC to distribute free COVID-19 test kits at sites in each borough

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 12:25 PM ET Dec. 23, 2021

NEW YORK — New York City will hand out free at-home COVID-19 test kits at sites in each of the five boroughs on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

New Yorkers will be able to pick up Binax rapid COVID-19 tests at the following sites beginning at 9 a.m., de Blasio announced on Twitter:

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How to stay safe during the holidays amid COVID-19 surge

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — As Christmas gets closer, more people are traveling during a time when COVID-19 cases are surging locally and nationally. The spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus has led to many questions, including whether it is more transmissible and deadlier than previous variants, and whether it is safe at this time to travel.

Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Harvard Belfer Center and senior director of the special pathogens program at New York City Health + Hospitals, joined Bobby Cuza on “Inside City Hall” on Wednesday evening to answer these questions and more.

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New testing sites to open in NYC as omicron surges

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman and Dan Rivoli
UPDATED 11:10 PM ET Dec. 22, 2021

New York City will get several new testing sites in the coming days in a joint effort by the city, state and federal governments to decrease wait times for COVID-19 tests as the latest surge in infections, powered by the omicron variant, continues to grow.

The new sites are coming online just as the Christmas travel period begins, and as the city breaks new records for infections counted in a single day, even as hospitalizations and deaths remain relatively low.

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'The Nutcracker,' several other shows canceled this week due to COVID-19 surge

BY Faraz Toor

NEW YORK — "The Nutcracker" is among several shows in the city canceled this week due to positive coronavirus cases, productions announced Wednesday as the omicron variant spreads through New York.

New York City Ballet announced Wednesday evening that it canceled performances of George Balanchine’s "The Nutcracker" through Monday due to several breakthrough COVID-19 cases of people in the production over the last few days.

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Chokshi to stay on as health commissioner until March 15

BY Justin Izzo

Mayor-elect Eric Adams announced Wednesday that city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi will remain in his post until March 15 of next year.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan will then take over as health commissioner, said Adams, who added that Vasan will serve as senior adviser for public health "in the interim."

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DOC suspends visits as COVID cases soar on Rikers Island

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — The New York City Department of Correction is temporarily suspending visits at jail facilities because of a rise in coronavirus cases.

In a letter, DOC Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi said the COVID-19 positivity rate at Rikers was over 17% as of Tuesday.

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Western Queens needs more COVID-19 testing sites, residents say

BY Edric Robinson

QUEENS, N.Y. — Daniel Klein was just one of a dozen people in a slow moving line Tuesday at a Mount Sinai COVID-19 testing location in Astoria. They hit the lines way before the site even opened for the day.

“I got out and the line was as far as my eyes could see looking down that way,” said Klein.

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NY1 exclusive: Incoming Council Speaker Adrienne Adams lays out her priorities

BY Emily Ngo

NEW YORK — Adrienne Adams is set to break barriers as the first Black speaker of the City Council and a woman leading a legislative body that will be predominantly women.

“I think of my daughters, I think of my granddaughters,” she told me. “They know that their nonna has done something and has blazed a trail that has left footsteps for them to follow.”

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City gets federal COVID-19 testing site

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman

The federal government is opening a new COVID-19 testing facility in New York City before the end of the week, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday.

The announcement did not give details for exactly when the site would open, its location or its testing capacity. The site is the first in a series of new testing facilities to be opened by the federal government around the country.

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Success Academy requiring 1 vaccine dose for middle schoolers by Jan. 31

BY Spectrum News Staff and Rebecca Greenberg
UPDATED 5:09 PM ET Dec. 21, 2021

NEW YORK — Success Academy announced Tuesday that middle school students will be required to have at least one vaccine dose by Jan. 31 or get tested weekly, and all eligible staff members must receive their booster shot by Jan. 3.

In addition, all students aged 5 to 11 will have to be vaccinated to participate in clubs and sports.

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Radio City Christmas Spectacular cancels remainder of shows for season

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 11:23 PM ET Dec. 17, 2021

The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes on Friday evening announced it was canceling the remainder of its performances throughout the holiday season, citing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes after the Christmas Spectacular announced it had canceled its four shows scheduled to run Friday due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases in the production.

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Health expert on omicron: Start avoiding big crowds immediately

BY Monica Espitia

NEW YORK — New York state health officials on Friday announced a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases. This exponential spike has led to the temporary closure of some restaurants and Broadway shows, and the Radio City Rockettes also canceled the remainder of its Christmas shows.

Now Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio are taking swift measures to get the spread under control ahead of the holidays, but they are also telling New Yorkers they are not planning on implementing lockdowns like the ones we experienced last year.

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Kyrie Irving returning to the Nets for road games

BY Associated Press

Kyrie Irving is rejoining the Brooklyn Nets, who need help and will settle for it on a part-time basis.

The Nets decided Friday that Irving would come back to practice and play in road games, even though he remains unable to play at home because he doesn't meet New York City's vaccine mandate.

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Health expert warns omicron could be as transmissible as measles

BY Spectrum News Staff

The omicron variant of the coronavirus may be as transmissible as diseases like the measles, a health expert warned Friday.

Speaking with NY1 "News All Day" anchor Ruschell Boone, Dr. David Reich, president of Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Queens, said colleagues who conduct research on infectious diseases are ringing the alarm bells over the new variant.

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How the latest COVID surge is impacting Staten Island University Hospital

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

With COVID-19 cases increasing quickly and testing lines moving slow, the situation inside Staten Island University Hospital has been stable, doctors from the hospital say.

"They are testing positive in the community, but less of them are ending up in the hospital,” explained Dr. Theodore Maniatis, the medical director at SIUH.

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40 new pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites to open across New York

BY Spectrum News Staff

An additional 40 pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites will be deployed across the state, with some set to open as soon as as Saturday, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Friday.

The new sites are aimed to fight the winter surge of COVID-19. The state recorded a record number of new cases in a single day on Friday.

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Jumaane Williams tests positive for COVID-19

BY Spectrum News Staff

NEW YORK — Public Advocate and Democratic candidate for governor Jumaane Williams said Thursday night that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19, along with thousands of other New Yorkers as the next wave of the virus rises in our city and state,” Williams said on Twitter.

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As COVID-19 cases climb in NYC, so do classroom closures

BY Jillian Jorgensen

NEW YORK — COVID-19 cases — and resulting classroom closures and quarantines — have spiked in public schools, as cases are on the rise throughout the city.

The city on Wednesday reported 546 positive cases among students and staff — up nearly 150% from the daily number reported a month prior, which was 220.

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4 Broadway shows cancel Thursday performances due to COVID-19

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 5:13 PM ET Dec. 16, 2021

NEW YORK — Four Broadway shows canceled performances on Thursday after members of their productions tested positive for COVID-19.

“Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” canceled its 7 p.m. show, “MJ the Musical” canceled its matinee and 8 p.m. show, "Hamilton" canceled its Thursday and Friday shows and “Mrs. Doubtfire” canceled all of its shows through Sunday, Dec. 19 after receiving positive COVID-19 test results within their companies, the four productions announced.

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City expanding testing, mask distribution as omicron pushes cases up

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman

As coronavirus cases and test positivity in the city continue to rise rapidly, Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press briefing on Thursday announced a series of measures to expand testing and mask availability, as well as urge residents to get vaccinated and seek booster shots.

Health experts have linked the rising cases, which have led to crushing demand for tests in the five boroughs, to the omicron variant. Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city health commissioner, said that at the beginning of the week, 13% of city cases were caused by omicron, and that the variant will likely take over as the most common variant in a matter of weeks.

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COVID-19 testing lines grow as omicron likely feeds virus spread

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman
UPDATED 1:44 PM ET Dec. 16, 2021

Lines for coronavirus tests are growing around the city, accompanying a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the weather gets colder and more people attend year-end family, friend and work gatherings.

While health experts say the increasing cases could be blamed on the spread of the omicron virus, the long lines are being driven by a national test shortage and reduced testing hours at some city sites, even as the city expanded its mobile testing fleet last month, according to health experts and elected officials.

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Metropolitan Opera to require booster COVID-19 vaccine doses for eligible audience members

BY Shannon Caturano and Rebecca Greenberg
UPDATED 11:46 PM ET Dec. 15, 2021

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera announced Wednesday that all eligible audience members must receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to attend a show.

The mandate is slated to begin Jan. 17. Those who are not yet eligible for the booster shot will be able to continue to enter without it.

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What You Need to Know About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine in New York City

BY Ari Ephraim Feldman
UPDATED 4:00 PM ET Dec. 13, 2021

New Yorkers are now receiving vaccines against COVID-19, and the state recently expanded eligibility rules for who can receive them. Nearly all New York adults are currently eligible to get vaccinated.

Here are answers to some of the common questions:

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An indoor mask mandate is back in effect in New York. Here's what it means for us in the city.

BY Spectrum News Staff and Pat Kiernan

NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul’s indoor mask mandate went into effect at 12 a.m. Monday, but it’s actually more nuanced than that.

If an indoor space has a mandatory vaccination protocol in place then masks are not required by the state. But if a business chooses to let customers or employees inside without proof of vaccination, the mask requirement applies.

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Latest mask mandate prompts concerns for small businesses, local leaders says

BY Patrick Adcroft

Business owners have a lot of questions this week after Gov. Kathy Hochul announced new COVID-19 restrictions in the form of a statewide mask mandate in all indoor public places, unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.

Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 1,300 companies, expressed both optimism and frustration at the new orders while speaking with NY1 Saturday morning.

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Houses of worship prepare for indoor mask mandate

BY Dan Rivoli

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that masks will be required in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a COVID-19 vaccine requirement. As the holidays approach, many crowds will gather indoors from shopping to in-person worship services.

On Friday night, many parishioners inside the Immaculate Conception Church in Queens were already wearing masks.

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Indoor mask mandate prompts relief for some, anxiety for others

BY Alyssa Paolicelli

To browse and shop around the Brass Owl on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens, you need to be masked up, no matter your vaccination status.

“We reopened in July of 2020 and have never stopped requiring masks,” explained boutique owner Nicole Panettieri.

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Why is de Blasio announcing new vaccine mandates?

BY Spectrum News Staff

Just weeks away from leaving office, Mayor Bill de Blasio is announcing new vaccine mandates for all private sector employees, in a move that seems to have taken business leaders by surprise. NY1’s Zack Fink, Courtney Gross and Juan Manuel Benítez comment on the new measures and the mayor’s intentions behind them. Is he doing this to reactivate the city’s economy and get employees back to the office? Or is he gearing up for a potential run for governor?

They also weigh in on a controversial proposal approved by the City Council that would allow some noncitizen New Yorkers to vote in local elections. The bill would benefit about 800,000 Green Card holders and other immigrants with work authorization. Even though noncitizen voting already exists in other parts of the country and is not entirely unprecedented here in New York, some questions remain about its legality and implementation.

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Mayor expands indoor dining vaccine mandate to two doses for ages 12+

BY Dan Rivoli and Anna Lucente Sterling
UPDATED 12:16 AM ET Dec. 07, 2021

NEW YORK — Employees and patrons of indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues who are age 12 or older will have to show proof of two COVID-19 vaccine doses starting on Dec. 27, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday.

In addition, children ages 5 to 11 will be required to show proof of one vaccine dose to be allowed into indoor dining locations, gyms and entertainment venues, starting on Dec. 14.

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The city's new campaign to get more elderly New Yorkers vaccinated: A character named 'Rampage'

BY Cheryl Wills

NEW YORK — About 85% of New Yorkers age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But officials want that number to rise even higher, and hope a new campaign will drive the message home.

Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez joins "NY1 Live At Ten" anchor Cheryl Wills on Friday evening to discuss this and more.

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NYC hospitals may be spared from limit on elective surgeries

BY Bobby Cuza

Last Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a move to free up hospital beds in the face of the latest COVID-19 surge: Hospitals with 10% available capacity or less could be forced to cancel elective surgeries.

But the executive order will likely apply only to upstate regions, which have seen a surge in hospitalizations. Hospitals in the city have seen a relatively small uptick in admissions.

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5 people in New York state test positive for omicron, officials say

BY Patrick Adcroft and Gloria Pazmino
UPDATED 9:35 PM ET Dec. 02, 2021

Five people in New York state, including four in New York City, have tested positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus, city and state officials announced Thursday evening.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held a joint press conference in the evening to urge calm, and ask New Yorkers to get vaccinated and mask up while indoors after the news.

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Letitia James calls for statewide mask mandate

BY Zack Fink

During an appearance on “Inside City Hall” Thursday evening, Attorney General and candidate for governor Letitia James called for a statewide mask mandate to prevent the spread of COVID, something Gov. Kathy Hochul has been reluctant to do.

“We can do better in the state of New York. We should issue a mask mandate. We should roll out census workers to go door to door. Individuals who are living in public transportation deserts, we should have mobile vans,” James told NY1 political anchor Errol Louis.

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COVID-19 vaccine mandate coming for employees at NYC nonpublic schools

BY Faraz Toor

NEW YORK — The city will institute a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees at nonpublic schools, including yeshivas, Catholic schools and other private schools, City Hall officials told NY1 on Thursday evening.

Proof of at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be required by Dec. 20.

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Minnesota resident tests positive for omicron COVID-19 variant, recently traveled to NYC: officials

BY Justin Izzo and Ryan Chatelain
UPDATED 12:47 PM ET Dec. 02, 2021

The Minnesota Department of Health announced on Thursday that a Minnesota resident has tested positive for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, and said that person recently traveled to New York City.

News Release: Lab testing confirms state’s first COVID-19 case involving Omicron variant https://t.co/kBQwR8XwPc

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Crowds return to Rockefeller Plaza for tree lighting

BY Stef Manisero
UPDATED 11:52 PM ET Dec. 01, 2021

People from around New York — and around the world — packed into Rockefeller Plaza on Wednesday night, for one of the city’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Crowds returned to see the Rockefeller Tree lighting in person, after the ceremony was closed to the public last year due to the pandemic.

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TELL NY1 YOUR CORONAVIRUS STORY,
IN YOUR OWN VOICE

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have fallen sick from the coronavirus and the death toll keeps rising. Jobs have been lost, storefronts shuttered, hospitals overwhelmed. And many New Yorkers have seen their own lives changed in deeply personal ways.

NY1 wants to hear your story, in your own voice, to use in a future podcast. 

Tell us what is going on in your family, your job, your neighborhood. What are your daily struggles and your daily joys, your quiet fears and your hopes for the future?

Send us a voicemail, voice memo, or a video to YOURSTORYNY1@CHARTER.COM or leave a message at 212-379-3440. 

Make sure to tell us your first name and your neighborhood. If you’d like, let us know how to contact you. 

Symptoms

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

(Source: NYS DOH)

LOCAL RESOURCES