Delta variant spread in New York area highlights vaccination urgency, officials say

New York City's health commissioner is warning that COVID-19 cases are ticking up ever so slightly in neighborhoods where people have not been vaccinated. 

"We are seeing in some cases in New York city that cases are on the rise particularly in Staten Island but also in other parts in the city from Brooklyn to the Bronx to Queens," Dr. Dave Chokshi said. "A common thread — it's in places where there's still a large number of people who remain unvaccinated."

He is urging New Yorkers who haven't gotten vaccinated yet to get their shots as soon as possible.

"We know the virus is an opportunist. It will find the cracks in our armor and get to them," Chokshi said. "And the new delta variant means it's perhaps the most dangerous time for people to remain unvaccinated." 

The more contagious delta variant is now the dominant strain of coronavirus in New York and New Jersey

On Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy once again asked unvaccinated residents to get inoculated.

"We urge you to go out and get your vaccine to protect yourself, your family, and your community," Murphy said at a briefing. 

His message is taking on a new urgency. For the first time in months, the COVID-19 infection rate in New Jersey has risen above 1%.

In Connecticut, state lawmakers will meet on Wednesday to discuss extending Gov. Ned Lamont's emergency pandemic powers. Lamont asked the General Assembly to let the declarations go through Sept. 30 to help address things like vaccine distribution. Lamont is looking to extend 11 executive orders down from 300 during the height of the pandemic. But Republicans feel this is an overreach by the governor.

Lamont also wants unvaccinated children to continue wearing masks in school. 

Democrats, who control the legislature in Connecticut, are likely to grant the governor's wish.