Well being specialists disagree on whether or not Cuomo’s determination to carry restrictions is sensible

Vaccinations and warmer weather should help limit the spread of COVID-19 if the state relaxes further restrictions. However, the virus will continue to kill and make people sick for years, public health experts predict.

“It is very likely that the pathogen will be with us in the long term and that we will have to learn to live with COVID,” said Dr. KC Rondello, epidemiologist at Adelphi University in Garden City.

Experts envision a future devoid of capacity, masks, and constraints of social distancing. When this happens depends on vaccinations and other factors. In the meantime, there is an ongoing risk for those who don’t stay vaccinated as New York State seeks a full reopening.

What to know

New York State will take off on Wednesday Capacity restrictions at most venues and relaxation of other rules.

Some public health experts Worry moving about risks a spike in infections while others say vaccinations and warmer weather should limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Experts don’t expect the virus and they foresee more clusters of COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated in the years to come.

The state will take its biggest step towards normalcy on Wednesday as capacity limits are set to be lifted for most venues. Restaurants, places of worship, gyms, shops, hair salons, and other venues can be 100% occupied if there is a social distance of 6 feet. The maximum capacity for large gatherings will increase, and full capacity in large venues – including the Yankee Stadium and Citi Field – will be allowed in sections for vaccinated individuals, with non-vaccinated individuals being socially separated.

Health experts disagree on whether Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s lifting of restrictions makes sense.

“The fact that you are relaxing the restrictions and allowing people to be close to each other without wearing a mask at least partially or all of the time is a very dangerous situation,” said Dr. Stanley H. Weiss, epidemiologist and professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers School of Public Health refer to how users in restaurants and bars regularly remove their masks. “And it is premature to do that when we know that a significant proportion of the people who come to these facilities are not fully vaccinated.”

Health Department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said Cuomo’s decision to further relax restrictions was based on “significant advances in vaccinations and sustained reductions in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across New York state,” a trend that is ongoing is expected to continue.

“We took a methodical and science-based approach to reopening,” said Hammond.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that fully vaccinated people will no longer need to wear masks in most situations, and Cuomo said later that day that he and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker would consult with health experts to decide whether to change the New York mask rules.

Rondello said the degree of reopening on Wednesday strikes a fair balance as some restrictions remain and the warmer weather means people will be spending more time outdoors, where virus transmission is lower. Vaccinations – 8.23 ​​million New Yorkers, or 41.3% of the state’s population, were fully vaccinated as of Saturday morning – have already helped and will continue to fight new infections, he said.

“With each percentage, vaccine coverage increases, infections, hospitalizations and deaths decrease,” he said.

However, Rondello warned that the state should reintroduce restrictions if the number of cases increases significantly.

The positivity rate for coronavirus tests in New York state was 1.06% on Friday, and 0.94% in Nassau County and 1.01% in Suffolk.

The doctor worried about another round of infections

Weiss said “the emphasis on distancing is the wrong emphasis” because while social distancing helps, the virus can spread through the air and infect people more than three feet away. In addition, few companies have adequately redesigned internal ventilation systems. He fears that the easing of restrictions will lead to “another potential round of infections that will be difficult to control”.

Even vaccinated people – especially older people with health problems – should be careful because although the relatively small number of vaccinated people who get COVID-19 usually get sick slightly, some have died or been hospitalized, Weiss said.

Sean Clouston, epidemiologist and associate professor of public health at Stony Brook University, said the increase in vaccinations will help protect the unvaccinated as restrictions relax. When two unvaccinated people sit in a restaurant near three tables full of vaccinated people: “From a COVID perspective, these other three tables are empty. They are protected as if they were empty.”

Early research shows that a vaccinated person transmits the virus to others significantly less often than an unvaccinated person, although the results are not yet conclusive.

Clouston said that “the most dangerous activity now is when people who have not been vaccinated are hanging out together … What is happening is that COVID is slowly migrating from one of those activities [unvaccinated] Bubble and find a way to get to another bubble and then spread out inside that bubble. “

Ultimately, policymakers need to balance the potential for infection and death that remains for the unvaccinated with a desire to allow even the riskiest scenarios like crowded bars and indoor concerts and sporting events at full capacity, he said.

“At some point we have to say that it is their choice not to get vaccinated and to open up the economy further, knowing that doing so puts unvaccinated people at higher risk – although one complication is that young children are not currently vaccinated and the vaccine isn’t effective in some people with compromised immune systems, he said.

Children aged 12 and over could receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday. Clinical studies are currently ongoing for children aged 6 months to 11 years.

Clouston said it was not necessary to achieve herd immunity – which most experts estimate at 70% to 90% of the population – to significantly reduce the spread of the virus.

“If we get something that is close to herd immunity but below it, we will likely see something like what we saw last summer: there will be a regular number of people with COVID, some people will be in with it Be hospital and other people will die, but mostly there will be a small number of people “in winter, with even fewer numbers in summer.

Battinelli says a 90% vaccination rate is required

Dr. David Battinelli, chief medical officer at Northwell Health, believes herd immunity, which is likely to require a 90% vaccination rate, is unlikely without widespread vaccination mandates such as those already in place or planned for universities, sports venues, and others Locations – some of which will also accept a recent negative coronavirus test result.

“You need to be vaccinated or you need to get tested every time you go anywhere and people will say, ‘This is ridiculous. Why can’t I just get vaccinated instead of getting tested?’ It must be inconvenient for people who just don’t want it, “he said.

Hesitation about vaccinations is also reduced when people see their family members, friends and neighbors being vaccinated, he said.

Dr. David Battinelli, Northwell Health’s chief medical officer, said having people see their family members, friends and neighbors being vaccinated will reduce vaccine hesitation. Photo credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

According to Rondello, the return to a new normal depends not only on vaccinations – the risk of infection will be higher if fewer people are vaccinated – but also on consistently low case numbers, whether variants resistant to vaccines develop and on careful monitoring of the virus’ Distribution.

“The idea is that hopefully we’ll get to a point where the case volume is low enough, aggressive testing and early detection of new transmissions are fast enough for you to react and suppress a smoldering situation before it turns into a full-blown fire . ” ” he said.

That’s the best scenario for a virus that is unlikely to be eradicated completely, he said.

“We won’t live like this forever,” he said.

What to know

New York State will take off on Wednesday Capacity restrictions at most venues and relaxation of other rules.

Some public health experts Worry moving about risks a spike in infections while others say vaccinations and warmer weather should limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Experts don’t expect the virus and they foresee more clusters of COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated in the years to come.

David Olson poses for an employee headshot at

David Olson covers health care. He has been with Newsday since 2015 and was previously responsible for immigration, multicultural issues and religion at The Press-Enterprise in Southern California.

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