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Cuomo discusses ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ and ‘toxic’ politics

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 3:20 PM EDT
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NEW YORK, New York (WWNY) - Calling it “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state will spend $15 million to get shots in the arms of hesitant New Yorkers.

He said 25 percent of adults in the state are unvaccinated. That’s 3.5 million people.

According to Cuomo, New York has seen a surge in new cases in just a month and 72 percent of those new cases are linked to the highly contagious delta variant.

Among vaccinated New Yorkers, he said only .15 percent have had a breakthrough infection. Cuomo added that the vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization by 94 percent.

As part of his targeted vaccination campaign, the governor said the state is focusing on specific areas where COVID cases are above the state average and vaccination rates are below the state average.

Most of the areas are in New York City and Long Island.

Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties are not on the list of targeted areas.

Cuomo also announced a new ad urging all New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

“If we do not make progress on vaccinating that unvaccinated population, 25 percent, with the delta variant, you’re going to see the numbers go up. And that is a large number, and we’re going to lose lives, and it will be disruptive. We cannot let that happen,” he said.

Monday’s news conference comes days after the Department of Justice announced it won’t look further into nursing home deaths in New York.

On Friday, the DOJ said it will not be opening a civil rights investigation into government-run nursing homes in the state regarding COVID-19 response.

Under the Trump Administration, the Department of Civil Rights requested data from New York nursing homes to question if Cuomo’s rule about accepting residents who were hospitalized for the virus inadvertently caused more deaths in the care facilities.

The DOJ said it reviewed that data and will not need to perform the investigation.

Cuomo discussed the DOJ’s decision Monday.

“It was an outrageous allegation,” he said. “New York followed the CDC guidance. CDC is a federal agency that’s supposed to know what they’re talking about in terms of health. We followed the CDC guidance when it came to how we handled people in nursing homes and when they went to a hospital, when they were brought back to a nursing home.”

“The political environment has gotten so toxic in this country. So toxic, so mean,” the Democratic governor said. “By the number of deaths as a percentage, number of nursing home deaths as the percentage, New York is number 31 in the country. We’re not even near the top in terms of percentage of deaths in nursing homes. Why New York, except that it was all politically motivated.”

North country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Republican, has called on the DOJ’s inspector general to look into why the investigation was dropped.

“How can the DOJ not investigate such a blatantly criminal coverup,” she asked.

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