NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — As New York lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions, fireworks were held across the state Tuesday night. One of the locations was Niagara Falls State Park.
The fireworks were put on not only to celebrate 70% adult vaccination in New York, but also as a sign of gratitude for all the essential workers, from grocery store cashiers, to first responders and healthcare workers.
We spoke to Dr. Samuel Cloud, an ER physician treating patients on the frontline of the pandemic at ECMC, about what this milestone means to him.
"People are exhausted and it's great to take a moment and look back at what we have accomplished this past year," said Dr. Cloud, ECMC’s associate medical director. "But it's not just for the healthcare workers. Western New Yorkers, New Yorkers, people in the United States have been through just absolute hell this past year and I think it's a time to come together, to celebrate that this is coming to an end, to celebrate those that we've lost.
"I would still encourage everyone out there that COVID is gonna be with us probably to stay as a circulated virus from year to year so please, please, please consider getting vaccinated.”
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul told 2 On Your Side she was planning on attending the fireworks. We had a chance to ask her about the significance of the event beforehand.
"This is not celebrating what we in government did," Hochul said. "It's celebrating what the essential workers did, the frontline people who showed up in our grocery stores, in our pharmacies when it was dangerous to do so, our healthcare workers, our first-responders, these are the people that I hope will look up in the sky and see this celebration in their honor all over the state of New York and to thank New Yorkers for doing their part."
The lieutenant governor said there are still concerns on the horizon when it comes to things like new variants, but she stressed that Tuesday, without a doubt, marks a turning point for New York.