COVID-19 News and Long Island Resources: February 1-5

Rachel Hollander | February 2, 2021

Dr. Fauci delivers a briefing in a PBS NewsHour segment from January 29, 2021.

WLIW21 and PBS offer regular, in-depth reporting on the coronavirus pandemic’s COVID-19 cases and vaccine rollout and distribution, as well as repercussions on employment, social services, the economy and politics. Here is the most recent information from infectious disease doctors and medical professionals, government officials, and journalists who cover news about COVID-19 and its impact. This page will be updated as reporting continues.

Recent COVID-19 News and Numbers

Click for Hotlines and Information Sources for Nassau and Suffolk Counties

Among the regions of New York, Long Island has the highest test positivity rate. Long Island’s positivity rate is 6.03 percent, followed by the Mid-Hudson Region at 5.76 percent, the North Country at 5.51 percent, New York City at 5.09 percent.

On February 2, Governor Cuomo announced that the federal supply of vaccines to New York will increase for the next three weeks. Private pharmacies that are charged with prioritizing the 65-plus population will now receive an additional 10 percent, or about 30,000 doses, directly from the federal government to supplement the doses allocated to them by the state. Given the increase to the state’s vaccine supply, the governor is granting localities the flexibility to add restaurant workers, taxi drivers, and developmentally disabled facilities to the 1B vaccine prioritization group.

The Nassau County Legislature on Thursday, January 28 called for an end to residency requirements – or requiring a person to work in the city – at New York City-run vaccination sites, noting that sites run by the state or the county don’t have those kinds of requirements.

On Sunday, Governor Cuomo announced that New York’s State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has declined for 23 straight days. The rate is on Monday is 4.86%, up from 4.44% on Sunday. If rates continue as they are in New York City, indoor dining can resume at 25% capacity on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

Currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccine are the groups Phase 1A (health care workers) and Phase 1B: people 65 and older, first responders, corrections officers, teachers and school staff; in-person college instructors, childcare workers, public-facing grocery store workers, transit workers and people who live and work in homeless shelters.

WLIW21 offers coronavirus coverage updates via email or mobile. Sign up for email alerts here, or text INFORMATION to 30644 for mobile notifications.

MetroFocus Interviews

(l to r): Hosts Rafael Pi Roman, Jenna Flanagan and Jack Ford.

MetroFocus is on weeknights at 5, 7 and 11 p.m. on broadcast and livestream; listen weeknights on 88.3 WLIW-FM at 11 p.m.

February 4: Blacks and Latinos Cautious About the Vaccine

New York City Council Member, and 2021 Democratic candidate for Bronx Borough President, Vanessa Gibson joins us to discuss what she’s doing to ensure Black and Latino communities are not frozen out of the vaccine distribution process.

February 3: COVID and Long Island

Tonight, MetroFocus is one-on-on with Nassau County executive Laura Curran as she shares the difficulties of balancing the needs of the people with preventing the spread of the disease and shares her personal experience of life in quarantine after she herself was exposed to the coronavirus.

January 27: Eye on the COVID Vaccine: NJ And NY Race for Distribution

Last spring the tristate area was the nation’s coronavirus ground zero with New York and New Jersey fighting to secure testing, PPE and ventilators. Nearly one year later, the two states are once again in crisis mode and racing to administer the vaccine amid reports of dwindling supplies. So where are the states succeeding and where are they falling short? How are Governors Cuomo and Murphy handling this stage of the pandemic? And how much blame should fall on the Feds? Steve Adubato, host of State Of Affairs with Steve Adubato and author of the forthcoming book: “Lessons In Leadership: Innovation (and Disruption) In An Age Of COVID-19 and Beyond,” joins us for this first of our two-night special.

PBS NewsHour Reports

PBS NewsHour is on weeknights at 6 p.m. and weekends at 6:30 p.m. on broadcast and livestream. Listen to half-hour broadcasts on 88.3 WLIW-FM weeknights at 6 p.m.

February 3: What Impact is “The COVID slide” Having on Students?

The questions around when to re-open more schools for in-person classes remains front and center for millions of Americans. Data show about 42 percent of all students between kindergarten and high school are in virtual-only schooling right now. Christopher Morphew, dean of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

February 2: How Effective Will Vaccines Be in the Months to Come?

As concerns continue to grow about coronavirus variants in the U.S. and globally, the British authorities on Tuesday said they believe a version of the U.K. variant may stunt the effect of some vaccines. Paul Turner, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the Yale School of Medicine and a specialist on how genes mutate, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the efficacy of vaccines.

February 1: Biden Looks to Ramp Up Economic Relief from the Pandemic

Negotiations over new action to stimulate the economy are moving into higher gear Monday. After releasing a $1.9 trillion aid plan last month, President Biden held a first meeting with Senate Republicans who are pushing an alternative plan. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.

January 29: Fauci on the Efficacy of New Vaccines

The drive to get more coronavirus vaccines into more arms is gaining momentum, with two new COVID vaccines possibly accelerating the effort. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH and a top adviser to President Biden on the pandemic, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the efficacy of the new vaccines and preparing for the virus variants.

Amanpour and Company

Amanpour and Company

Left to right: Walter Isaacson, Michel Martin, Christiane Amanpour, Hari Sreenivasan

Amanpour and Company is on Monday – Saturday at 12 a.m.; repeats at 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. Watch broadcast or livestream.

February 3: Reactions to a New Study of the AstraZeneca Vaccine

A new study by Oxford University shows that not only does their AstraZeneca vaccine prevent serious illness, but it also slows down transmission of the virus. It’s much needed good news, with vaccine rollout in a race with the virus itself, particularly with variants and disinformation spreading like wildfire. To discuss, Christiane Amanpour speaks with renowned medical researcher Dr. Helen Rees and journalist Tim Harford, who has been tracking the vaccine rollout closely.

NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi

NJ Spotlight News provides daily reporting on the coronavirus in New Jersey, as well as newsletters.

February 5: Doctor on J&J One-Dose COVID Vaccine and FDA Authorization

Dr. Martin Blaser discusses Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine and getting emergency use authorization from the FDA. Once approved, J&J could start sending out vaccines within four weeks, and without the need for ultra-cold storage.

February 4: Doctor on the Risks of Relaxing Indoor Dining Restrictions

While restaurants and other businesses are happy with the easing of restrictions, medical experts are wary.

February 3: Vaccination Priority Urged for NJ Essential Workers

Labor advocates say public transit staff, grocery store clerks, warehouse workers and other essential workers who perform vital jobs and keep the economy moving deserve to be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

February 1: Expert Suggest COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Combat UK Strain

Health experts say NJ must pick up the pace of vaccinations, and prioritize the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 65 in order to stop the highly-infectious UK strain from spreading quickly.

January 29: Critics Say COVID-19 Vaccination System Unfair to Seniors

Critics say New Jersey’s patchwork system for scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations needs a serious upgrade to make it more fair. Folks without internet access still struggle to get scheduled for shots.

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

Firing Line airs Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and streams live.

January 11 (Web Only): Dr. Michael Osterholm

Dr. Michael Osterholm says new strains of Covid-19 have darkened his prognosis for the pandemic, which he is now scared could be the “the big one.” Osterholm, a member of Biden’s Covid advisory board, discusses fixing the vaccine rollout problems.

GZERO WORLD with Ian Bremmer

February 6: The Race to Vaccinate

Atul Gawande of the Biden/Harris COVID-19 transition task force joins the show to discuss the latest on the race to vaccinate the country before contagious coronavirus mutations take hold.

Hotlines and Information

NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065
For all New York State updates and announcements from Governor Andrew Cuomo, see the state COVID site.

Vaccine Distribution

To confirm eligibility and see list of vaccine providers closest to you, see this New York State site.

Those eligible can call the New York State COVID vaccine scheduling hotline; calls are accepted 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., though lines may be busy and hold times lengthy: 833-697-4829.

Delivery of the week 7 supply of vaccines from the federal government is expected some time this week. The state is documenting its vaccination distribution through a vaccine tracker that includes first and second doses given.

State-run COVID-19 vaccination sites (appointments required through include, among others:

  • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York City
  • Westchester County Convention Center (Westchester County)
  • Jones Beach drive-thru vaccination site (Nassau County) on Long Island
  • SUNY Stony Brook (Suffolk County) on Long Island
  • The Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York City

See other community pop-up sites in Long Island, New York City, and Westchester County on the New York State site.

Micro-Cluster Hot Spots

Look up an address to see if it is in a New York COVID-19 color-coded Hot Spot Zone with restrictions. There are currently several micro-clusters within 75 miles of New York City. Maps of the cluster zones can be found here.

The places and activities regulated are non-essential gatherings, businesses, dining, and schools. See the New York State site for details on how cluster zones are identified and implemented.

Governor Cuomo’s weekday coronavirus updates focus on hospital and ICU bed availability in New York State’s regions, based on seven-day averages. See the status of regions on

COVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. You will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Learn more about how it works and download it to your mobile phone.

Nassau County

Text COVID19NC to 888777 to get updates on Coronavirus in Nassau County on your mobile device. See New York State information regarding vaccine distribution.

Nassau County Coronavirus Hotline: 516-227-9570

Nassau County vaccine information.

Nassau County COVID-19 information and resources. The site updates its data on cases, deaths, hospitalizations, number of ventilator patients and discharges daily at 5pm.

Nassau County maintains a map with number of cases by community.

Suffolk County

Text COVIDSUFFOLK to 67283 to get updates on Coronavirus in Suffolk County on your cell phone.

Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions about travel and symptoms.

See New York State information regarding vaccine distribution.

Suffolk County COVID-19 information and resources, including daily reports of deaths, cases, and cases by county.

Remote Learning Resources from WNET Education

WLIW21 is the home of a weekday broadcast block starting at 9 a.m. Grades 3K-Grade 2 are served by Let’s Learn, NYC!, followed by a NJTV Learning Live lesson for 3rd graders at 10 a.m., 4th graders at 11 a.m., and 5th graders at 12 p.m.

Broadcast schedules on WLIW21, WLIW World and PBS Kids were developed to help schools and districts bridge the digital divide and provide equitable access to learning for all students at home, regardless of access to the internet or computers.

Help keep students learning at home with tools for parents and educators on WNET’s Education site. All resources are free and standards-aligned.