NEW YORK — New York State has hit an important milestone in its nearly year and a half battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest number from the CDC's vaccine tracker now shows New York has hit 70% of adults with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The benchmark was reached nearly three weeks before President Joe Biden's goal for all states to do so by July 4.
Just ahead of the updated CDC data, Governor Andrew Cuomo said hitting 70% would be cause for celebration.
"Seventy-percent is a great milestone," said Governor Cuomo. "The president set 70% by July 4th as an optimistic milestone, not all states will hit it, we will reach it earlier than anyone thought."
University at Buffalo's Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy, Dr. Nancy Nielsen called the announcement terrific news.
"I'm delighted, on the other hand I must say that we have to remember that that's 18 and up and we are having younger and younger people get this disease and get hospitalized so we are not out of the woods yet," she said.
Governor Cuomo said once New York hit 70 percent, most remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted like the many capacity limits that are still in place. However, Monday he did not give specifics about what restrictions would be lifted and when.
"That's what the celebration is going to be, it's not the finish line at 70 but we are coming around the last turn on the track," he said.
With New York's positivity rate at 0.4% and this landmark in the books, does this mean we are close to herd immunity?
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center's Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. Brahm Segal said herd immunity is a moving target especially for COVID-19.
"The more transmissible the virus is, what you define as a target for herd immunity your threshold goes up, so I would say 70% is great but it is not sufficient we need to go even higher," said Dr. Segal.