COVID-19 News and Long Island Resources: January 11-15

January 15, 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

After a week of tumult over the inefficient vaccine rollout in New York State, new vaccine guidelines begin Monday, January 11.

Now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine is the group Phase1B: people 75 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.

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.

January 10: Israel Takes the Lead as Top COVID-19 Vaccinator Per Capita

As many countries began their COVID-19 vaccination rollouts last month, one country quickly charged ahead of the pack: Israel. The Middle Eastern nation is now the world’s top vaccinator per capita, already inoculating more than 1.5 million people, or nearly 20 percent of its total population. But as it faces a growing number of COVID-19 cases, can the country keep up its lead?

January 10:  Vaccination, Like Tests, Is a State-Led Effort in the U.S.

With daily cases crossing 250,000, COVID-19 has killed nearly 380,000 people in the U.S. — the highest in the world. As states roll out vaccines in phases amid reports of the two more transmissible variants from the UK and South Africa in the country, experts warn that arresting the virus spread is key to stopping the pandemic. ProPublica’s Caroline Chen joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

January 8: Vaccine Campaign Struggles

The death toll from COVID-19 has passed 365,000 in the U.S. with 130,000 people hospitalized with it now. Mass vaccinations are going slower than had been expected. Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

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.

January 12: What’s Going Wrong with Vaccine Distribution?

January is expected to be the deadliest month of the pandemic in the U.S., a fact that underlines the importance of fast and effective vaccine distribution. But is the rollout proceeding in the right way? To discuss the state of the pandemic and what the near future holds, Christiane speaks with medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

January 11: The Importance of Vaccines Throughout History

Nearly 9 million Americans have received their first dose of the vaccine, while President-elect Biden received his second dose today. Dr. Peter Salk was just nine years old in 1953 when he got his polio vaccine, which was developed by his own father, Jonas Salk. Now an infectious disease expert himself, Peter Salk joins the show to discuss the importance of vaccines, then and now.

January 6: Strain on LA Healthcare Workers

According to the Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, people in LA County are dying of COVID-19 at the rate of one every ten minutes. The total number of cases has doubled in just over a month, and health workers are now being asked to ration oxygen. Registered nurse Nerissa Black from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital tells Hari Sreenivasan what she’s seeing from the front lines.

NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi

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

January 14: Unique COVID-19 Testing Lab Opens at Kean University

It’s taken only 6 months for Kean University to develop a fully operational diagnostic laboratory that’s providing COVID-19 test results to residents in Union County.

January 14: Could antibody Treatment Prevent COVID-19 Hospital Surge?

As the second COVID-19 surge threatens New Jersey hospitals, state health officials are urging people who test positive and have mild to moderate symptoms to immediately ask their doctors about getting monoclonal antibodies. Officials hope it will keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

January 13: Can School Districts Require Teachers to be Vaccinated?

Teachers are next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the 1B group. Currently no districts have announced a vaccination requirement as of yet, but one law professor says it’s within their legal rights.

January 11: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine on Track for February FDA Approval

New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson is on track to seek approval for its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine early next month. The vaccine is currently in late-stage trials, with important safety data coming by the end of the month. Johnson & Johnson has set a goal of providing 1 billion doses this year.

January 11: New COVID-19 Cases Hit Record High in Post-Holiday Spike

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has pushed the coronavirus to the number one cause of death in the state.

January 8: New Jersey unveils mega COVID-19 vaccination sites

Gov. Murphy toured one of five vaccination sites Essex County. The inoculation of first responders and medical professionals, who called or registered online, started last week.

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.

Hotlines and Information

NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065
See New York State coronavirus updates here. Sign up for Governor Cuomo’s daily emails here.

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

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 time can exceed an hour: 833-697-4829.

COVID-19 vaccination sites opening Wednesday, January 13 at 8 a.m.:

  • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center (NYC)
  • Westchester County Convention Center (Westchester County)
  • State Fairgrounds (Onondaga County)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday evening that state vaccination sites at Jones Beach and SUNY Albany will open on January 14 and 15, respectively, with more vaccination sites to be announced in the coming days.

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. 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.

Work and Assistance

Employers and employees can visit or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for labor law information and more.

A New York State web application helps struggling New Yorkers locate benefits they may qualify for. “Find Services” is an easy starting point for first-time users of social programs that relate to unemployment, food insecurity, and housing, among other services.

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 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.