Saying “this is a momentous day,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo shortly after noon announced that restrictions that had been put in place to combat Covid-19 were being lifted.
Cuomo made the announcement in front of an audience of invited guests, including first responders, National Guard members, and building, food, hospitality, transit and retail workers at One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
He said that New York state has gone from having the highest Covid-19 positivity rate in the U.S. of 48.16% to now having the lowest rate in the U.S. of 0.4%.
“We were alone; it was frightening. It was like living through a science fiction movie,” Cuomo said. “People abandoned New York. Others stayed and others fought. It was a moment we’ll never forget and a moment that changed us.”
Cuomo listed percentages indicating that numerous areas of the state had vaccination rates in the mid-70% range, with an overall state average of 70%. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously released data showing that 70% of its residents vaccinated against Covid-19.
Cuomo had previously announced that when the 70% level was reached most restrictions imposed during the pandemic would be lifted. Businesses are now able to keep using whatever protocols they deemed necessary such as mask requirements or social distancing on a voluntary basis but, in essence, businesses will be able to get back to business as it had been.
Cuomo said that in celebration, all New York state properties that have exterior nighttime lighting will be lit tonight and fireworks will be set off in various areas.
Cuomo warned that “our journey is not over. We still have to manage Covid as the experts will tell you. Recovery is not going to be spontaneous and automatic. The recovery itself is going to be challenging and is going to take time.”
The CDC reported that nationwide 64.5% of adults have had at least one shot of a vaccine. It said there have been 33,292,045 cases so far of Covid in the U.S. with 597,343 deaths.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer advised this morning that 74.8% of all adults ages 18 and up have received at least one shot of a vaccine. As of this morning, 22 people are hospitalized with Covid in Westchester and there are 270 active cases in the county. Those are the lowest numbers since early last year.
According to the New York State Department of Health, in Dutchess County, 66.1% of the population age 18 and over had received at least one shot of a vaccine as of yesterday. In Orange it was 59.6%. Rockland County recorded 65.1% of the 18 and up population having received at least one shot. In Putnam County, it was 71.3%.