New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning of a dangerous second wave of the COVID-19 virus, as new, more contagious strains have begun to infiltrate the U.S. And as New York State struggles with its vaccination rollout, Cuomo says he’s asking one of the major vaccine manufacturers if the state can buy doses directly.
Cuomo says the good news is that the post-holiday surge of the virus appears to be leveling off, as the state’s overall positivity rate was under 6.5 percent for the past few days. The bad news is that a true second wave of the virus could peak in the U.S. in March, as mutated forms of COVID-19 have surfaced in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa and are spreading to other countries. Cuomo compares it to the influenza pandemic in the last century that began in 1918, and resurfaced with a new, more deadly variant in 1919.
“That’s what we are afraid we’re seeing now,” Cuomo said. “A new strain which could cause a second wave.”
The U.K. strain has been found in New York, but Cuomo says there’s no evidence the Brazilian or South African strains have reached the state yet.
Cuomo continues to call for the testing of all airline passengers coming to the U.S. for COVID to prevent further spread of the new variants.
The governor is also not ceasing his complaints against the federal government for sending fewer vaccine doses than initially promised. The state received just 250,000 doses of vaccine doses this week, 50,000 less than the 300,000 a week that it had been receiving. Seven million New Yorkers are now eligible for the vaccine, around half of the state’s total adult population.
“Now you are talking about seven months to get the seven million vaccinations done,” he said.
Cuomo’s written a letter to Pfizer, the New York-based pharmaceutical company that makes one of two authorized vaccines in the U.S., asking if the state can buy doses from Pfizer directly.