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New York reports record number of daily COVID-19 positives

New York reports record number of daily COVID-19 positives
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New York reported a new daily record of 13,422 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday as the state continues to implement its coronavirus vaccination plan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) shared the update on Twitter, saying 8.7 percent of the 154,949 COVID-19 tests that had been conducted had come back positive. In a news conference on Wednesday, he characterized the number of tests conducted as "a little low," stating that New York had been conducting upward of 250,000 tests at an earlier point.

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Cuomo said at the news conference that the state must reopen the economy before most of its population has been vaccinated. Cuomo noted that initial numbers estimate that 70 to 90 percent of the population has to be vaccinated in order for the state to hit “critical mass.”

“That is a very large percentage of the population. If you listen to the time frame they’re talking about, it starts at about six months. We'd be at critical mass in June, and then [the estimate] went to about September, and now some people are talking about the end of the year,” he said.

According to Cuomo, the state cannot wait that long, saying, "We can’t take the economic cost. We can’t take the psychological cost. We can’t take the emotional cost. We have to be prepared for it."

More than 203,000 people have received a dose of a coronavirus vaccine in New York so far, Cuomo said.

In a tentative step toward reopening, Cuomo also announced on Wednesday that 6,700 fans would be allowed to attend the first Buffalo Bills home playoff game in January. Cuomo called this move a “pilot” for future events in New York. Every attendee will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before the game and contact tracing will be conducted afterward.

The state has also conducted 4,300 sequencing tests, Cuomo said, as it attempts to detect the new, more infectious COVID-19 strain that was first found in the U.K. The strain has so far not been found in New York, said the governor.