Cuomo: NY COVID-19 cases rising due to Delta variant, unvaccinated adults

FILE — In this June 23, 2021 file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, in New York. The federal government’s count of the coronavirus dead in New York has 11,000 more victims than the tally publicized by the administration of Gov. Cuomo, which has stuck with a far more conservative approach to counting COVID-19 deaths. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A month ago, it appeared New York had contained COVID-19. But it hasn’t taken long for cases numbers to rise again. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a statewide ad campaign and a $15 million outreach program to encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated. The effort comes as nearly 2,000 new cases were reported on Sunday, a 472% increase over the 346 new positive cases on June 26. 

Cuomo repeated a statement made by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when he labeled the situation as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” There have been “breakthrough” cases — individuals who are fully vaccinated testing positive for COVID-19 — but only 0.15% of vaccinated New Yorkers have been infected. 

As of Monday, more than two-thirds of New York adults age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Three-quarters of adults have been given at least one vaccine dose, according to the CDC. 

“The vaccines work,” Cuomo said. “They work and it’s proven in the numbers.” 

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He confirmed that the Delta variant is present in New York. The highly contagious variant has been found in 72.2% of new positive cases across the state. With case numbers increasing in other states, there have been calls for mask mandates to be reinstated. 

But in New York, the state is targeting zip codes where there are a higher number of new positive cases and the vaccination rate is below the statewide average. The $15 million program announced by Cuomo will provide funding to six community organizations to target 117 zip codes, mainly in New York City, in an attempt to increase the vaccination rate. There are some upstate zip codes on the list, but none are in Cayuga County. 

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