By Tyler Durden
July 2, 2021
Update (1313ET): Not long after Cuomo made his remarks, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that he may impose mandatory vaccination requirements in New Jersey, too. Murphy said his mandatory vax plans amounted to the absolute floor, meaning the minimum that the government might do.
Private-sector employers should require more employees to get vaxxed, the governor said, before adding that employees in health-care facilities and other high-risk venues (like prisons, for example) must get vaccinated right away.
Murphy tweeted a breakdown of the latest COVID stats.
NEW JERSEY #COVID19 NUMBERS:
➡️937 new positive PCR tests
➡️909,057 total PCR tests
➡️216 new positive antigen tests
➡️132,102 total antigen tests
The positivity rate is 4.6%.
The statewide rate of transmission is currently 1.43. pic.twitter.com/ZsnegBThzQ
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 2, 2021
Exactly 10,505,407 doses of various jabs have been administered in New Jersey as of Monday morning, while 5,309,373 individuals who live, work, or study in the Garden State are now fully vaccinated. Among the fully vaccinated there have been: 6,381 COVID+ cases (0.13%), 195 COVID-related hospitalizations (0.004%)and 50 COVID-related deaths (0.001%).
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Most of the Empire State’s residents probably see the delta variant as a nuisance – but we suspect Gov Andrew Cuomo sees it as an exciting opportunity. Because in a press conference that carried the whiff of his daily briefings from the depths of the crisis last spring and summer, Gov. Cuomo asked private businesses in the state to enter “vaccine only admission”.
“Private businessess…I am asking them, and suggesting to them…go to vaccine only admission,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I believe it’s in your business interest to run a vaccine-only establishment.”
In another obviously political calculation, Cuomo made the statement hours after the local press reported that Mayor Bill de Blasio is reluctant to impose another mask mandate on the people of NYC (though the CDC has already imposed a mandate of its own). Clearly, Cuomo – who managed to survive twin scandals involving lying about the number of deaths in NY State’s nursing homes and sexually harassing a platoon of aids (and wedding guests) – sees delta as an opportunity to burnish his reputation as a leader. Though we doubt the legislature will return to him the unilateral powers that enabled Cuomo to choke the state’s economy with some of the most restrictive rules in the country.
Perhaps he didn’t consider the ramifications of this approach, but if all private businesses adopted this policy many unvaccinated people might have trouble buying food. One in eight black New Yorkers would be unable to shop, per NYC’s own data.
Cuomo held the press conference as the number of daily COVID cases topped 2K for the first time in months.
GOV. CUOMO: “Private businesses… I am asking them, and suggesting to them, go to ‘vaccine only’ admission.”
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 2, 2021
So far, most New Yorkers haven’t had a reason to carry around their vaccination cards (which, remember, they were warned not to lose). But pretty soon, that’s about to change – in keeping with Cuomo’s strategy to deflect blame for the most onerous delta-inspired measures.
Cuomo also added that New York is the first state in the country to require hospital personnel to get vaccinated (they must get vaccinated, they aren’t allowed to simply be tested on a regular basis).
Last week, Mayor de Blasio ordered all city workers, including the NYPD, to get vaccinated or face regular testing. Now, Cuomo is ordering all MTA and Port Authority workers to get vaccinated or face similarly onerous testing regimens. They will have until Labor Day to get vaccinated.
Beginning Labor Day, all @MTA employees & NY employees of the Port Authority will be required to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly.
Amid the growing threat of the #DeltaVariant, this precaution will help ensure the health & safety of these dedicated workforces.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 2, 2021
He offered some insight into his reasoning.
“If you’re a nurse…and you’re dealing with hundreds of people…you should be vaccinated,” Cuomo said. Legally, Cuomo can only impose this on state-run hospitals. He loudly proclaimed the policy should be spread to all hospital workers (including those run by NYC).
Cuomo added that he believes all teachers and health-care workers should be required to be vaccinated, but he acknowledged the decision is up to local authorities. At one point, he said that even masking might not be enough to protect school children, hinting at the possibility of another year of hybrid education.
On another note, Cuomo was asked during the press conference about the investigation with employees from NY AG Letitia James’ office. Cuomo said only that he would cooperate “at the appropriate time”.
We imagine we’ll be hearing more about that shortly (unless James’ and Cuomo’s Democratic peers have decided to spare him now that the intense public scrutiny has faded).