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NEW YORK (WABC) — The United States is scrambling to clear the backlog of vaccination delays after the winter storms.

There is some news of positive trends. Cases are falling nationwide by 73% and hospitalizations have dropped by nearly 55%.

Still, concerns of a new wave persist. New York reported its first case of the South Africa variant in a Long Island resident and the vaccines may be less protective against it.

“If in fact, this becomes more dominant, we may have to get a version of the vaccine that is directed specifically against the South African isolate,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Dr. Fauci also predicted that Americans could be wearing masks in to 2022.

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Here are more of today’s headlines:

NYC movies to reopen
Movie theaters in New York City can open with 25% capacity, Gov. Cuomo says. Restrictions will include no more than 50 persons per screen and mask wearing for all. He says that will begin starting March 5.

NJ houses of worship, religious services increase capacity
Governor Phil Murphy announced houses of worship and religious services can operate at 50% capacity effective immediately.

Fans can return to some arenas, stadiums next Monday
Fans can return to some arenas and stadiums in New Jersey starting next Monday, March 1, Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday. Any venue that holds more than 5,000 people will be allowed to open at 10 percent capacity if it’s indoors and 15% if it’s outdoors.

MSG to reopen to fans
The New York Knicks and New York Rangers are joining together to welcome back fans to Madison Square Garden. Starting Feb. 23 against the Golden State Warriors, the Knicks will play in front of roughly 2,000 fans, followed by the Rangers on Feb. 26 vs. the Boston Bruins.

NYC appoints COVID Recovery Czar
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that School Construction Authority CEO Lorraine Grillo would serve as New York CIty’s new COVID Recovery Czar. The mayor said Grillo’s job will be to coordinate with city agencies and private business to facilitate a “recovery for all.”
“Today I’m bringing forward some new leadership to make this happen. Big job, it takes someone who has accomplished so much already. Lorraine Grillo is someone who is so respected in this city. I’m naming her as our senior advisor. I’m going to refer to her as our recovery czar,” de Blasio said.

2 new vaccine centers to open Wednesday in NYC
The state is opening two more COVID vaccination sites in New York City this week.
Beginning Wednesday, the sites at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens will be able to vaccinate up to 3,000 people a day.
Vaccines given out at the state-run sites are by appointment only and are not part of the state’s weekly allocation.

JFK Airport Recovery for All
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Representative Gregory Meeks and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards today announced key elements of the foundation for the new JFK Airport construction projects that will drive a recovery for all of us by creating over 20,000 jobs, investing $10 to $15 billion in new infrastructure and boosting tourism to New York City.

“New York City will emerge from this crisis stronger by building our recovery from the grassroots up,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I thank Representative Meeks and Borough President Richards for their partnership to ensure the JFK Airport redevelopment project will not only bring jobs, but benefits to the surrounding communities too.”

Monmouth County vaccination appointments canceled for Monday
Vaccine appointments scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22 in Monmouth County are canceled due to the continued delay in vaccine deliveries.

“The County still has not gotten a notification that the vaccines have even shipped yet and so we have no choice but to cancel the scheduled appointments for Monday,” said Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone. “Again, we apologize for this inconvenience to those with scheduled appointments. Everyone who had an appointment scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22 should report to the same location on Monday, March 1 at the same time as their originally scheduled appointment.”

US inches closer to 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths
Just over a year since the first known US COVID-19 death, more than 500,000 people will have died from the disease by the end of this week.

Amanda Kloots gets COVID vaccine months after Nick Cordero’s death
Amanda Kloots, the widow of Broadway star Nick Cordero, got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine seven months after his death.

Kloots shared her husband’s long battle with coronavirus before he died in July at the age of 41. She said in an Instagram post Friday that she is grateful to be vaccinated against the virus that left her a single mom.

New vaccination site in Queens delayed again
Martin Van Buren High School in Queens will not open its doors Sunday as the city’s newest vaccination site. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced it won’t open because of the supply shortage delayed by storms.

The site was scheduled to open last Thursday, but was postponed due to low supply. The facility will eventually be the first permanent vaccination site in Eastern Queens, other than a number of chain pharmacies that began offering vaccine appointments under a federal program.

111-year-old woman gets COVID vaccine, says wine, beer, eating ‘what I like’ her secret to longevity
As of this week, nearly 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered across the U.S.

One of those recipients was 111-year-old Maria Aulenbacher, the oldest known person in the state of South Carolina — and became one of the oldest people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 Friday.

Variant found in South Africa identified in NY resident
The first case of the COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa has been identified in a New York resident. The sequencing, involving a Nassau County resident, was conducted at Opentrons Labworks Inc’s Pandemic Response Lab, a New York City based commercial lab, and verified at the Wadsworth Center in Albany.

Last week, a Connecticut resident who had been hospitalized in New York City was found to have the variant.

COVID pandemic’s mental health burden heaviest among young adults
The pandemic has closed schools, offices, sports arenas and limited social interaction for millions of people — perhaps an even bigger struggle for young people more used to being active.

In a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63% of 18- to-24-year-olds reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25% reporting increased substance use to deal with that stress and 25% saying they’d seriously considered suicide.

NY statewide positivity rate drops below 3%
The single day COVID-19 positivity rate in New York has dropped below 3% for the first time since Nov. 23, Gov. Cuomo announced.

UK speeds up vaccinations: All adults get 1st jab by July 31
The British government declared Sunday that every adult in the country should get a first coronavirus vaccine shot by July 31, at least a month earlier than its previous target, as it prepared to set out a “cautious” plan to ease the U.K.’s lockdown.

The new target also aims for everyone 50 and over and those with an underlying health condition to get their first of two vaccine shots by April 15, rather than the previous date of May 1.

The makers of the two vaccines that Britain is using, Pfizer and AstraZeneca, have both experienced supply problems in Europe. But U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Sunday that “we now think that we have the supplies” to speed up the vaccination campaign.

Top 7 COVID vaccine questions answered
You had questions about COVID-19 vaccines and 7 On Your Side is getting you answers from doctors on the front line of the pandemic.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE


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