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About 60 per cent of New York residents are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and more than 70 per cent have at least one dose of a vaccine. But New York has recorded a “four-fold” increase in daily Covid-19 cases to more than 2,000 over the past month, Mr Cuomo said during a Monday news conference.
The highly contagious Delta variant has been credited for the recent surge in cases across the United States, causing concern among health officials about its impact on hospitalisation and death rates.
“I am asking them, and suggesting to them, go to vaccine-only admission,” Mr Cuomo said about private businesses. “I believe it is in your best interest.”
Radio City Music Hall “did this months ago”, Mr Cuomo added. “Reopened. Vaccine only. Sold out all of the shows.”
The reasoning behind Mr Cuomo’s “vaccine-only admission” plea was because of the concern that the rise in cases could bring New York back to where it was last year at the peak of the pandemic.
“Worst case scenario, a large number of unvaccinated get sick and even worse than that, the Delta variant mutates to a vaccine resistant virus and now we’re right back to where we started,” Mr Cuomo said. “Everybody has to get vaccinated again and you have to come up with a vaccine for this new mutation.”
These comments came on the same day that Mr Cuomo announced a vaccine mandate for employees of state’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and Port Authority. Transit workers could either get vaccinated by Labor Day or face weekly coronavirus testing, he said.
State employees must have a Covid-19 vaccine – a mandate that was made by the governor last week.
“I don’t believe a mask policy will be enough,” Mr Cuomo said on Monday. “I think we will have to talk about a vaccination policy.”
The Delta variant was a huge driver in the new push from the New York government to get more people vaccinated.
The infection rate among unvaccinated residents was more than four times higher than those who were vaccinated, the governor said. The unvaccinated also made up more than six times of those hospitalised due to Covid-19 compared to those vaccinated.
“Everybody has to get vaccinated,” Mr Cuomo said.