Two new mass vaccination sites will open in Brooklyn and Queens later this month, and major stadiums and arenas may begin reopening for attendee events on February 23, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday. The mass vaccination sites will be located in “socially vulnerable communities,” one in Jamaica, Queens and another at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and are part of a partnership between the state of New York and the federal government. The sites will be equipped to distribute up to 3,000 doses of vaccines per day, making them the largest mass vaccination sites open in the state thus far.
African Americans have died from COVID-19 at twice the rate and Hispanic Americans at 1.5 times the rate of white Americans, Cuomo said at the briefing. “COVID exposed the fundamental injustices that existed across the country,” he said. More: What You Should Know About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine in New York City. The governor was joined by members of President Joe Biden‘s COVID-19 Fairness Task Force, as well as community leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who called fairness in vaccination a matter of life and death. “We work 24 hours a day to make sure people in our community know that the vaccine is safe and effective, and that everyone should take it when it is their turn,” Sharpton said. The federal government will issue a 5% increase in vaccine doses over the next three weeks, Cuomo said, adding that “we suspect supply will continue to increase” beyond that time frame. Following a Buffalo Bills playoff game in January that Cuomo called “an unsurpassed success,” stadiums and major venues may begin reopening events later for attendees this month, with a 10% capacity limit for venues with capacity greater than 10,000. State Department of Health approval will also be required for events, as will face covers, temperature controls, mandatory assigned seating, and socially distanced. A negative PCR test will be required within 72 hours of the event for attendees. See also: CDC Director: ‘Now is not the time to reverse mask requirements’ The new guidelines “strike the balance of safe reopening,” Cuomo said. The Barclays Center will reopen for its first event on February 23 for a game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings. The overall statewide positivity rate Tuesday was 4.02%, “basically flat,” Cuomo said, and there were 136 deaths. The overall positivity rate for New York City was 5.08%. “The overall trajectory is down and that’s good news,” Cuomo said.