Vaccine may be less effective against New York COVID variant, expert says

The New York variant of COVID-19 may be able to infect people who are vaccinated and those who have had the virus, according to the former head of the Federal Drug Administration.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb says the variant may account for positivity rates in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island hovering around 15 percent. He warns the vaccine may be less effective against the New York strain, first identified in Washington Heights last month.

With the resumption of indoor fitness classes Monday in New York State at 33 percent capacity, Gottlieb warns that now is not the time to let down our collective guard.

The State authorized pharmacies to administer vaccines to New Yorkers who are ages 16 and older with underlying conditions including chronic kidney disease, pulmonary disease, and severe obesity.

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The state announced 54 additional deaths. There was a piece of good news: hospitalizations dipped to their lowest level since December 4.