COVID-19 News and Long Island Resources: January 25-29

Rachel Hollander | January 26, 2021

One of New York State’s NYCHA locations with community vaccination kits.

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

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.

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.

January 28: Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer Proposes Fair Shot Plan

New York City Comptroller, and 2021 Democratic candidate for Mayor Scott Stringer, joins us for the debut of our spotlight series, “Who’s Running For Mayor” to discuss his new “Fair Shot NYC” initiative, aimed at ensuring transparency, equity, and accountability in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process, as well as his plans to help struggling small business owners, and his run for mayor.

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.

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.

January 29: New Vaccines Show Promise Amid Concerns Over Virus Variants

New vaccines created by Johnson & Johnson and Novavax are showing promising results in reducing illness caused by the coronavirus, though they were less effective than other vaccines and against some virus variants, which are causing growing concerns. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.

January 29: Biden May Act on COVID-19 Relief Without Bipartisan Support

The Biden administration wants a $1.9 trillion COVID aid plan passed by Congress as a way to address issues related to vaccine distribution, and President Biden indicated Friday he’s willing to move forward without bipartisan support. Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council and Biden’s lead negotiator with Congress on the COVID deal, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

January 28: How to Protect Yourself from the New Coronavirus Strains

There are now several troubling variants of the coronavirus circulating, and a few seem to make the virus more contagious. One variant , the United Kingdom strain, is also more likely to make people sick or to kill them. The CDC believes that strain will become dominant in the U.S. as soon as March. William Brangham reports on what experts say about avoiding exposure.

January 28: Finding a Vaccine Can Mean Anger, Frustration and Anxiety

More than 25 million shots of a COVID vaccine have been given out, or about 8 doses for every 100 people. But the process can be difficult and overwhelming. Here’s a sampling of what some Americans say they are facing as they attempt to get vaccinated.

January 27: In Ohio, Overcoming Inequities in Vaccinations

A recent analysis by Kaiser Health News finds Black and Latino citizens are getting vaccines at significantly lower rates in many states. This is especially worrying given disparities in COVID-19 death rates, with Black, Indigenous and Latino people dying at much higher rates than white people. Dr. Mysheika Roberts, public health commissioner of Columbus, Ohio, joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

January 26: Vaccinations Lag at Long-Term Care Facilities

By one count nursing homes and assisted-living facilities account for about 6 percent of COVID cases but 40 percent of virus-related deaths. Now some state officials are worried vaccinations are moving on to other parts of the populations before long-term care residents and staff are inoculated. David Grabowski, health care policy professor at Harvard Medical School, joins John Yang to discuss.

January 25: Biden Administration Begins Push for Action on COVID Relief

President Biden had a full Monday lifting a ban aimed at transgender troops, imposing a ban centered on COVID-19, and extending a mandate to buy goods made by Americans.

January 25: What is Driving the Disparities in Vaccine Distribution?

There have been more than 40 million Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses delivered around the U.S. thus far, with more than half of those administered. But while the pace has increased, the rates of vaccination vary widely by states and counties. Dr. Jennifer Kates, senior vice president and director of global health at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

January 23: COVID Shutdowns Bring New Popularity to Old Winter Pastime

After months of shutdowns and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, some ski resorts are cautiously reopening in the U.S. and Europe. But not in France. Worried about outbreaks, French ski resorts can’t use their chair lifts or open their chalets. But the shutdowns are spurring demand for a much slower snow sport: snowshoeing. And one French company is stepping up production to meet demand.

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 25: How Earlier COVID Diagnosis and Treatment Saves Lives

25 million coronavirus cases have now been reported in the U.S., with vaccines a rare light at the end of the tunnel – despite ongoing problems in their rollout. Two ER doctors on the front line join Hari Sreenivasan to explain how more lives can be saved through earlier diagnosis.

January 22: Biden COVID Response Team Hopes for “Complete Transparency”

President Biden has unveiled a new national strategy to replace the ad-hoc patchwork of policies from 50 states under the previous administration. The plan is to pick up the pace of distribution to meet the goal of 100 million vaccinations in Biden’s first 100 days in office. Andy Slavitt is a senior advisor to the new response team. He joins Hari Sreenivasan to explain the team’s upcoming goals.

NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi

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

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.

January 28: Vaccinations Remain a Key Reopening Factor for Some Schools

Even as the in-school transmission remains low, some districts are pushing back their reopening dates. Middlesex, Montclair and South Orange Maplewood have been remote-only since last March.

January 28: New Port Authority Report Shows Latest Effects of COVID

COVID-19 drastically changed the way one travels in the tri-state area, and new numbers out Thursday from the Port Authority are painting a clearer picture of the impact from self-quarantining and working from home.

January 26: Supply Issues Cause Vaccine Mega-Sites to Temporarily Close 

Two of the state’s six COVID-19 vaccination mega-sites had to close temporarily because they didn’t have vaccines.

January 26: As More Schools Reopen, State Relaxes Safety Guidelines

COVID-19 cases are trending downward in New Jersey, causing some schools to reopen their doors to students and staff. But the state’s recently updated safety guidelines for districts to follow, relaxing rules like whether to close classrooms or entire schools over suspected COVID-19-positive cases or if the state hits the red zone, meaning the very highest level of risk.

January 25: Merck Discontinues COVID-19 Vaccine Development

Kenilworth-based Merck says it will discontinue development of its two COVID-19 vaccine candidates after a review of early clinical studies found that they produced insufficient immune responses. Merck was late to the game in the effort to develop coronavirus vaccines and instead has been focusing on coronavirus treatments.

January 22: Should the Government Pay People to Get COVID Vaccines?

Economists predict more companies will continue offering vaccine incentives, but should the government?

January 22: What Does Biden’s COVID-19 Plan Mean for New Jersey?

New presidents often set arbitrary 100-day goals, counting on their political honeymoon momentum to help hit the mark. But Joe Biden’s confronting a truly immediate pandemic crisis, and a $20 billion vaccinations program tops his 200-page COVID-19 relief plan.


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
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.