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Warning Of Virus Second Wave, Cuomo Appeals Directly To Pfizer For Vaccine Doses

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Mike Groll
/
Office of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo

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 roll out, Cuomo said he’s asking on of the major manufacturers if the state can buy vaccines directly.

Cuomo said the good news is that the post holiday surge of the virus appears to be levelling off, as the state’s overall positivity rate was under 6.5% 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. He 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 are 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 said 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 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.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.