Sudden Decision to Reopen Leaves New Yorkers Dizzy and Divided

May 04, 2021 · 331 comments
NYC should re-open very slowly. I wouldn’t sit in a movie or Broadway theater. I wouldn’t eat inside at a restaurant. I’ve been fully vaccinated since February. I ride the subway. I see friends. Does life feel “normal”? Life will never ever be the same. My father in law died in a nursing home last spring. Get vaccinated but still be very cautious, NYC. This isn’t going away so fast.
Rachel (Hoboken, NJ)
A family member tested positive for COVID this week despite being FULLY vaccinated and taking all the precautions. This thing is not going to magically go away because people proclaim it so.
Alan Morris (Yonkers)
@Rachel And most likely the symptoms will be mild at best. Without the vaccine... quite possible hospitalization.
John (Florida)
@Rachel So what if your family member tested positive? Vaccine is not 100% effective for preventing infections. Nothing strange about that. The point of the vaccine is that even if you get infected you will either have no symptoms or they will be very mild. You will no longer have a chance of dying from it. Thus those who understand that simple fact can go out and be free from fear.
Louis (Denver,CO)
@Rachel, No vaccine is 100% effective, nor have any of the COVID vaccines claimed to be. COVID vaccines reduce the odds of getting it but it is not a 100% guarantee. However, what all the ones on market are particularly effective at is reducing the severity--if you do get it you'll end up with something mild enough that you won't need to go to the ER and will recover on your own.
Penelope (WA)
At this point, if you haven't been vaccinated, you should be on your own and let the rest of us start living again. And that means paying for your health care when you end up sick with covid. I'm tired of the dead weight we have to carry and continue to pay for because people clutch to their willful ignorance.
John (NYC)
Without changes to distancing restrictions the capacity increases are useless. It is just more Cuomo Promo. If a New Yorker has the guts and willingness to take the vaccine; go out and enjoy the Summer!
Jonathan (Brooklyn)
WHAT sexual assault allegations? No doubt, though, this will provide a big surge for all sorts of businesses - restaurants, music venues, emergency rooms...
Scott (Scottsdale, AZ/Park City, UT)
No thanks. I'll stick to my pool on a mountain and SLC in the summer. Nyc isn't attractive with everything closed. Most have been going to FL for months anyhow.
Such an uneasy time to be a human . Whatever .
PMD (Arlington Virginia)
This is a “either you’re with us, or you are with the terrorists” moment. We need as many people vaccinated as possible because we need you to be able to go out and spend money.
Joanne (Nj)
It’s time to implement deadlines and vaccine passports. You should know that if you refuse the vaccine, it will be unavailable come a certain date. And I believe doctor’s offices and hospitals should be the first to require vaccination to enter. Why must the vaccinated continue to mask for hours in waiting rooms because others refuse to? Schools the same. I feel less adamant about restaurants since we are not required to patronize them. If you refuse medical advice to vaccinate, you should be refused medical care.
Roger Geyer (Central KY)
@Joanne: You don't need to DENY people vaccines if they change their minds, for crissakes. We DO need to apply sticks as well as carrots to get people vaccinated, if we want any HOPE of getting back to more or less normal within a year or three. And I can just imagine the left's reaction if denying medical care were brought up in ANY other context, like refusal to buy health insurance or act responsibly, re economics.
Emily (CA)
It seems precipitous to me. The New York graphs are still showing high case numbers. I was there in the fall when cases rose, as well as last spring at the pandemic start, and they don't seem to have fallen much. Wait a little longer as vaccinations continue.
Roger Geyer (Central KY)
@Emily: But politicians want to be re-elected above ALL. So if the virus surges again in the face of the obvious risk re too much reopening with a HIGH proportion of people unvaccinated, look for them to blame somebody, ANYBODY else, when that happens.
John Blutarsky MD (Boulder, CO)
Should we consider including life insurance companies and their data driven mortality tables in the discussion? Their track record is pretty good on these things and to the best of my understanding they haven’y stopped writing life policies during the pandemic.
Roger Geyer (Central KY)
@John Blutarsky MD: That's a good point. OTOH, have the rates increased. Unless they're willing to just ignore the risks and losses from Covid-19, it seems like they should, given how UNcareful such a large proportion of people are.
Will (Massachusetts)
Most people who want the vaccine have been able to get it. I am now fully vaccinated. The others who don't want the vaccine (including my brother and sister) are knowingly putting themselves at risk. To those who are refusing to get the vaccine, I paraphrase Lord Farquart "Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make."
Emma (Monterey Bay Area)
@Will Some people don’t have the choice to get vaccinated like children and those with suppressed immune systems. Plus the threat of vaccine resistant mutations is real. You need to push your siblings harder. They aren’t the only ones at risk.
Courtney (US)
It is so sad to me that some old fashioned corporations are demanding staff return to work in offices full-time and are not adapting to modern hybrid or fully remote models. The flip side I suppose is that those corporations will attract the kind of employees where that is acceptable.
GBC1 (Canada)
It will be interesting to see what reopening means in practical terms. How many people will continue to work from home? How many people will continue to avoid public places and public transit, and restrict their outings. I think many people will wait and see how it goes. Reopening is one thing, back to normal is another, back to the new normal, whatever that is, is yet another, and it will take a while.
B D Duncan (Boston)
When you refuse to participate in safe activities even after getting vaccinated, you are inadvertently fueling vaccine skepticism. If you act like the world is too dangerous to participate in even after getting a vaccine and following guidelines, you’re telling people on the fence that there’s no point in getting the shot. You don’t need to hit the club on a Friday night without a mask on, but it’s time to start moving back into real life. That means reopening and moving forward again.
Steve (Nevada)
I have this horrible feeling that normalcy will never feel normal again.
Richard Hannay (Hong Kong)
Since this article provides no data to give us context for this decision, I looked it up myself. In the last seven days, there have been an average of 1,256 daily positive cases and 22 daily deaths. (NYC gov site doesn't show me daily figures.) Do you feel good about that? Meanwhile, here in Hong Kong, we had 4 new cases and 0 deaths. There have been 210 deaths total since Covid started. (NYC has had 32,698 deaths "of NYC residents" total according to gov site.) Based on data--and not feelings or politics--I would say it's INSANE that NYC will be "100% reopened" in a couple weeks. (HK is not yet "100% reopened.") But America doesn't care about data or death. Those are uncomfortable and complicated. America wants feelings--the feel-good kind! And America wants to go to the movies!
Mike (Boston)
@Richard Hannay How many people die every day in NYC?
Brooklynite (New York City)
So I guess, Governor Cuomo, it’s politics as usual.
SPBronson (Florida)
Reading these comments by some people revealing how absolute they are in their risk aversion, I think back on those old Japanese soldiers holding out in caves in the 1970’s, refusing to surrender. Twenty years from now we will be reading about Covid recluses, faces blinking in the sun when they are forcibly removed from their condemned homes or finally persuaded to take a chance on the air outside of their walls.
Brody Willis (Seattle)
This is a reckless and irresponsible announcement from Governor Sex Predator, all because he and Mayor DeBlasio dislike each other, and have a running competition over who can be more incompetent. Not nearly enough people have been vaccinated - I mean, does anyone really want someone from Staten Island casually wandering into their business, unmasked, and blithely spreading contagion? We've waited this long; we can wait a little longer.
Matt (Miami)
Miami has been open since last June. What is the issue?
A. (NYC)
The photo of the man sitting in the train, mask on his chin, says it all. Would you want to ride a train full of unmasked, perhaps unvaccinated, maybe asymptomatic people? Guess for some, for whom the thought of a bit more "sacrifice" is just too much to bear, it's worth the risk. Have at it. But I'll not throw caution or my health to the wind just to cram into a movie theater or a restaurant. Be assured, that day will come, just not yet.
Ed (NY)
The city will fully open, weed will be legal, as well as on-the-down-low prostitution. Trump was right after all: the fear of covid, if not the fact of covid, will disappear, like a miracle. I can't wait to run into Tucker at a rib joint. Or, alternatively, just in case, keep those mobile morgues at the ready.
Hazel (NYC)
Re-open in haste, repent at leisure.
W in the Middle (NY State)
“…Crime is nothing like it was in 1990… Yeah, right… The rampant anti-Asian racism is even hitting HuffPo… Interesting how no mention of the attackers’ race ever, in MSM, though the victims – of course – are all called out as Asian…
kevin d (nyc)
@W in the Middle 2200 Murders in 1991 , 440 in 2020, plain and simple, easy to understand (for most)
Robert (Where Truth Prevails)
Unfortunately we still don’t have a vaccine for stupidity.
Anne (LIC, NYC)
My fellow New Yorkers, gird your loins.The tourists are coming, the tourists are coming! Oy!
Marty P (Bangkok)
I think that if vaccines are available and there are no long queues in your region then you might as well open up. Those who are vaccinated are safe or at least safer. Those who not vaccinated choose to take the risk or know how to take care of themselves until they can get vaccinated.
kevin d (nyc)
@Marty P Well Said, got my vax , don't care if there are those that won't, they are not my problem
MAW (New York)
WHAT? What happened to phasing in re-opening? I am most definitely NOT ready to ride my two NJTransit trains and subway to work, sit in my crowded office with two other people wearing a mask all day in a building where you cannot open a window and that hasn't had a ventilation upgrade since 1965, and then take the subway and two NJTransit trains home, especially when some of the transit personnel don't even wear their masks properly, much less those passengers who don't wear them at all. NOPE. On this very website, Orange County, NY is STILL listed as "very high risk," and hasn't lost that designation yet - we've either been "extemely high risk" or "very high risk" since March 2020. All the anxiety in me that had died down after Joe Biden was finally inaugurated has returned with a vengeance in one fell swoop with this very unfortunate announcement. I have been SO CAREFUL since the start of the pandemic, and now I feel like it's all gonna be for nothing, and YES, I am fully vaccinated. I just don't believe they know enough for sure - other countries, much smaller than our's, have re-opened and then surged. Not good, methinks.
Jacqueline (Colorado)
I also wonder how all these commenters can say, "well Im just going to wait" or "I dont know yet so Ill just stay at home because I dont trust our government" and then be all up in arms about people who make the exact same argument about not wanting to take a vaccine that isnt fully FDA approved and has less than 4 months of use data in the general public. I mean, isnt that like the exact definition of hypocrisy?
LRS (Alexandria VA)
“Amadou Diallo, 52, a screenwriter, worries that people will lie about having received a vaccine and will endanger others.” I’m totally with him. Because there have been news reports of people seeking to get fake vaccination forms so they can lie to everyone and say they’re vaccinated when they’re not. Then you have the anti-vaxxers and anti-masters who will mingle in and can be covid transmitters even if they don’t exhibit symptoms. Sadly, you can’t trust everyone to do the right thing. I’m in northern Virginia and they’re opening up here a bit more in a few weeks but with some restrictions remaining but we, and neighboring Maryland counties, are still at high risk for second week in a row (coming down from very high risk), though the numbers are now slowly declining - but nearby Washington DC is still very high risk. So even though I’m getting my first Moderna shot this week (it’s been hard to get appointments here at CVS stores due to vaccine shortages) and my second shot’s already schedule, I still plan to keep wearing masks outdoors at least until two weeks after I’m fully vaccinated in June. Then we’ll see if the risk numbers have declined to mild or low risk. I just saw that in Washington State and Oregon the numbers are going steadily up in many areas which is alarming. Then there’s India crisis which feels like what was happening in Italy and China a year go before we locked down. Some of the opening up in some places feels very politically motivated to me.
Matthew (Toronto)
If you don’t like it, eat at home, avoid crowds. Pretty simple. Life has to go on at some point for the rest of us. The experts have said we have to manage this going forward, not eradicate it.
SEH (Mentor, OH)
Will do, have fun!
JGaltTX (Texas)
Texas is wide open. Many schools no longer requiring masks and church back to normal. There has to be a logical explanation why some parts of the country are beating the virus and others aren't. Could it be that conservative states have done a better job than liberals? Could it be that conservatives aren't scared of their own shadow and want to get on with their lives? Could it be that liberals are so risk averse they would wear masks forever? I'm sure we'll find out with the replies.
Susan (NYS)
@JGaltTX oh please. Stop talking your political nonsense. New York City is one of the most densely populated city in the States. Texan cities don't even get close in density. It has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative. Density, density, density!
Matt (Bridgewater. NJ)
We went through this nonsense at the beginning, when the red states were pounding their chests and laughing at liberal New York and New Jersey getting crushed. Then it came back around to you a few months later, hard. Don’t start the chest pounding again. This virus has a way of punishing the arrogant.
Rob (San Diego)
California has the lowest rates of infection in the whole USA. Could it be you didn’t want to read that far?
Politics pure and simple, not public health policy. Petty rivalry and calculation, distract and provide cover. Dangerous behavior not exclusive to republicans.
Alan (Hawaii)
I’m thinking that somewhere in the decision to reopen is the expectation that a certain, perhaps sizable, percentage of people will not fling off their masks on May 19, take in a movie, eat at a restaurant indoors, and then catch a subway home. I certainly wouldn’t. I’d give it month or so, see how it goes, and let those who are more desperate/confident/reckless be the guinea pigs, so to speak. After more than a year of masks, take-out and streaming, a little while longer is no problem at all for me. Bottom line, I’m alive. Obviously I have my doubts — it feels experimental — but at the same time, I’m hoping it works out. The world will be watching. Take care and good luck.
Rachel (NYC)
Those who consider it paranoid to continue wearing masks are not thinking about their fellow people. Wearing a mask harms exactly no one. Not wearing a mask can harm many. And yes: "Many people suspected some combination of politics and unfounded optimism about vaccination rates and a perilous disregard for emerging variants of the virus played roles in the reopening date." I get it, people miss what existed before. But for those of us with children who can't yet be vaccinated, immunosuppressed family members, etc., what existed before still isn't possible.
David F (NYC)
Yes. Very weird. The mayor said June 1, a few days later the governor says May 19. I thought June 1 was aspirational at best. The vaccination rate is nowhere near as high as it should be to open fully. Once again, as the foolish nationwide shutdown was based on the most devastated places rather than planned to follow the disease, we're now looking at the least devastated places and saying, "Hey, let's all open up!" So. I'll be keeping my fully vaccinated self at home, as will my wife. We'll go out in the open, we have been all along, but we won't be dropping our guard. And sure, we'll visit with fully vaccinated friends too. We're lucky enough to be able to do that. When the new, more viral, variants come a'knocking, we'll still be safe. Restaurants? Deafening sound pressure levels have kept us out of NYC restaurants for years anyway, so we haven't been missing them.
GreaterMetropolitanArea (Just far enough from the big city)
I'm with the 15-year-old. What about the variants, which are just starting to be studied? What about all the people who aren't vaccinated, and the fact that a vaccinated person can be a carrier? And in restaurants, the masks come off? If anything, "opening up" prematurely will keep me in the house longer.
Cate M (Asheville)
I’m a native New Yorker who is visiting next week, and expected to find a ghost town. Maybe I’ll be surprised. It’s a wonderful thing to be fully vaccinated, in any case. And, besides, the idea of shoving into a crowded subway car holds no appeal, pandemic or no pandemic.
@Cate M - It is definitely not a ghost town. Lots of people on the streets, lots of people on the subway. Everyone masked indoors, most still masked outdoors.
Sidewalk Sam (New York, NY)
I think we'll know it's "safe to go back to normal" when the big law firms ask their employees to return to their offices. This will be a key indicator to keep an eye on: how people with a heightened awareness of liability are behaving.
Roger (Penn's Woods)
If you, like me, have done your part, i.e., followed science and all CDC and federal govt. guidelines to contain COVID and to help stop the spread, to wear a mask and socially distance, and you got vaccinated if available to you, then thank yourself and those in your orbit who did the same. If an area can now open, it's because of you and your acknowledgement of your civic duty and your willingness to be a good, responsible, unselfish citizen. Had everyone done what you did, we'd likely have saved 10's of thousands of lives and maybe never have had to shut down. And thank medical people for their courage, strength and expertise. You and I respected them.
If the vaccination rate among people who are more vulnerable is approaching full vaccination then this would make sense. Last month it was reported around 65% for seniors in NY, not sure what it is now. This seems rushed for political reasons.
Mirka S (Brooklyn, NY)
@M Every senior in NY already got a chance to be vaccinated. Well, pretty much everyone 16+ already could get a shot had they wanted. If they didn't, it is by choice and the consequences are on them.
Sam (Mass)
The problem is that the kids have no choice now. 15 and under are ALL unvaccinated and their protections are being taken from them. It’s not a “nothing “ virus for kids. It can cause long term damage in healthy kids. Are we ready to remove all masks and expose our kids next to this experiment?
Joel Stude (Newberg, Oregon)
I’ve been pro mask, science, vaccine, etc since day one. But now vaccines are available for all, time to open up. Who are we protecting? The ones who will never get the vaccine anyways?
Sharon (Leawood, KS)
@Joel Stude, vaccines are not 100% effective but if 70-80% of people would get them they would be collectively more effective. Right now the US is at 40% and unsure if that’s even 40% fully vaccinated.
Lisa M (New York, NY)
@Joel Stude, herd immunity doesn't come from the vaccine being available for all. It comes from people having the vaccines injected and having their immune systems activated so they can fight the virus without becoming seriously ill or dying. And if enough people are vaccinated (at least 70% of the population, I've read), we have a chance at achieving herd immunity. But not with the numbers as they stand now, which aren't even at 50% yet.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
Those who aren’t eligible yet-children, and the immunosuppressed who got the shot but didn’t get good immunity. That’s who. Are you telling me they aren’t worth it?
Scottsdale Jack (In exile in CT)
I must admit in a perverse way I'm happy to hear so many people are fearful and don't want to be out and about. It just means that all the places I'll be going this summer will be uncrowded.
Jim Steinberg (Fresno, Calif.)
The decision about reopening our American economy poses a choice: our lives versus money. Money will prevail.
SEH (Mentor, OH)
I plan on visiting New York this Sept. That will be plenty of time to see how the reopening experiment goes. I moved from New York last year to a state that has been pretty much open for quite some time. I’m vaccinated but remain cautious for the time being. I don’t miss the old life and while I look forward to some outdoor drinking and eating this summer, it will be awhile before you’ll see me unmasked indoors in a public space.
Cordelia (New York City)
New York City's COVID positivity rate is now 4%. Considering the sizeable drop off in testing, the real rate is likely much higher. The NYT currently deems the city to have a very high risk of infection. To open up fully under these circumstances is reckless beyond measure. Yet the pressure that's been brought to bear by the city's entertainment and restaurant industry has clearly yielded the desired results. New York-Presbyterian's system-wide hospital ICU occupancy rate is now 82%; only 59 beds are available. NYU Langone's ICU occupancy rate is 84%; only 40 beds are available. And Mount Sinai West's ICU occupancy rate is 98%; only two beds are available. Our hospital workers are exhausted. They've been battling COVID-19 for 15 months now and clearly our elected officials couldn't care less about them. Their callous and cynical actions are reprehensible. Shame on all of them. Since late January neither the city nor state has been following CDC guidelines concerning the relaxation of restrictions involving activities in indoor public spaces. At least the "red state" mayors and governors were upfront when they refused to follow the CDC's safety guidelines last spring. Not so with our cynical and untrustworthy leaders.
sugarsnap108 (New York)
@Cordelia The positivity rate generally goes up when fewer tests are being done, because fewer asymptomatic people are getting tested. So I'm not sure what you mean by the "real rate" being much higher. If you mean mild/asymptomatic cases in the community are being missed, sure - that's probably the case. May I ask where you're getting those ICU occupancy figures?
TW (Upstate Manhattan)
Yes, I currently have a friend in Washington Heights getting over Covid, meanwhile her mother who also has Covid is in the ICU in Columbia. This pandemic is very much active and not over.
Todd (San Fran)
The infection rate now is HIGHER than it was when we first shut down in March of 2020. At least 50% of the population hasn't even gotten ONE shot. And the variants are far more transmissible and deadly. So absolutely, let's fully open up, what could go wrong!?
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
Some businesses will be smarter than that. My boss closed during the worst of the winter surge-not because he had to but because he felt it was the right thing to do. I told him at the time that this was right, I’d rather be broke than dead. Broke can be fixed, dead cannot.
AJ B. (Massachusetts)
Your statement completely ignores the high rate of fully vaccinated seniors and high-risk population members. We’re safer than we were last year, and everyone who wants vaccine protection has now had the chance to get it. It’s time to open up while we continue outreach to the hesitant, but we all shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice another summer given our vaccination campaign’s success and widespread availability now.
Anita Picarella (Bronxville NY)
When I see my local movie theater open, I’ll believe New York is open!!!
Amazed (Bronx)
And then there is the colleague who’ll go to a hockey game and another who’ll get on a plane to Miami...but now claim to be “afraid” to come back to the office of 20 socially distanced where vaccines are mandatory.
Peter Zenger (NYC)
Our wretched politicians never miss an opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We have all been sentenced to wave, after wave, after wave, of this horrible disease. What did we do to deserve this? We built a nation where the almighty buck, is the only thing that counts.
Ebrofin (Connecticut)
It’s long past time to start to reopen. If you don’t like it, stay home.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
That is what India thought too
Ebrofin (CT)
India’s healthcare system is abysmal and the government encouraged millions of people to attend religious ceremonies when no one was vaccinated. Hardly an apt comparison, is it?
IncognitoUSA (NJ)
It’s like getting married or buying your 1st home, you can’t believe it is really here and now there is remorse. This too shall pass, just make sure your circle is vaccinated.
sugarsnap108 (New York)
@IncognitoUSA You make marriage sound delightful.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
That’s really hard to do when your dumb relatives believe every fool conspiracy theory on the internet. One of mind has sworn never to get the vaccine because it’s all fake, there is no virus, it’s really all just influenza A. And the mRNA vaccines will kill us all. His faith will protect him. Like it protected all those churches who had outbreaks. These social media companies really need to be held responsible for allowing all this misinformation on their platforms. This stupidity WILL kill people. Of course everything I say is treated with suspicion. Even though I’ve known my relative since birth and he should know by now I’m in his corner and wouldn’t do anything to hurt him. But he’d rather trust some random guy on the internet who tells him what he wants to hear.
sr (NYC)
What are the odds there is another Amadou Diallo who lives in the city(maybe). Boy am I getting old.
2020 (New York)
@sr My thoughts exactly. We remember what was done to him too. Police were killed him, an innocent man, just because he was Black. 22 years ago. He would now only be age 45. Time is fleeting. Like I tell my 92 year old mom who cannot believe she has a 65 year old son who just qualified for Medicare, Mom, you are not the only one getting older. Have been truly blessed during this Pandemic. My mom was kept safe through two hospital stays we tried to avoid due to Covid and the necessity of Rehab in a Nursing Home, after because delaying Medical care weakened her. My twin brother survived two documented bouts with Covid, even with life threatening comorbidities. Incredible. For me life has not really changed at all. Used a Common sense approach to masking and washing and backing up but did not go full on crazy hoarding and cleaning. My twin brother got his first Pfizer shot today and I got my second two weeks ago. I started to ask visitors to my house if they want me to wear a mask as I am fully vaccinated. I do not wear a mask when walking and exercising outside. I have never had a Covid test. Has not been necessary. My Internist never stopped in person visits. Masks yes, but temp checks upon entering, no. She has a practice in two states too. My Cardiologist office has been in hiding since last March and leaves the NP for in person visits and the testing techs. Medical care is via the phone and I for one have had enough and told them so.
Mishi (New York)
Hi! The odds are not that small since Amadou Diallo is very common name in West Africa and there is a sizable West African community in New York.
Chris (New York)
I thought the same thing.
Dk (South Delaware)
In Michigan there are 7,000 plus still getting infected and why would these two states want to get the virus raging again. The CDC told the Michigan governor to lock down for a month . She is afraid of the thugs who are anti government and they bullied her already. Then you have millions of GOP and Evangelicals who won’t take the vaccines. We are in for another big virus surge if these states open and shame on their leaders.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
Yep. They think faith will protect them. Didn’t help all those churches with outbreaks much, did it? If mere faith worked, why all the church outbreaks? God gave you something to protect yourself. It’s called a brain and he expects you to use it.
LRS (Alexandria VA)
@Dk The Michigan governor’s hands are now tied due to her state’s senate taking away much of her powers to lock down. All she can now do is ask people to do things.
DJM-Consultant (USA)
I believe there is going tobe a large COVID19 Problem in NYC = the US is not ready to open up. djm
Dennis (Seaville, NJ)
If 👏🏼you’re 👏🏼 dubious 👏🏼 then 👏🏼 stay 👏🏼 home.
James (Arizona)
So those of us vaccinated are supposed to wait for the anti vaxers to get vaccinated before things open? Not me. I got my 2 shots and I have no problem continuing to wear a mask when required. Vaccinated people who are unlucky to actually contract the virus don’t seem to be hospitalized and die. Arizona has been mostly open throughout the pandemic and doesn’t seem to be suffering today. If you are a real patriot do us all a favor and get the shot.
2020 (New York)
@James Agreed James. It is time to change our mindset. We need not fear not wearing a mask when fully vaccinated.
Tony (CT)
With CT fully reopening in 2 weeks, it’s time to update the Page 1 Risk Levels “Exposure risk in your area › Fairfield County, Conn., is at a very high risk level.”
Opinioned! (NYC)
Only the virus can determine the reopening timeline. Politicians, ordinary folks, even charlatans on tv can scream all they want that now is the time to reopen but this protein wrapped in bad news called COVID-19 has the final say. India has declared to have defeated the virus 4 months ago. Brazil has declared last year that the virus is just the common cold given a fancy name. And where in the death count are these two? The virus controls the timeline — and with the rate that the US vaccination is slowing down while the number of anti-vaxxers are going up courtesy of the propagandists on FOX NEWS, it looks like COVID-19 will be with us quite a while.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
The virus doesn’t care what people want. It’s going to infect people if they give it a chance. They might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later the COVID chickens will return to the roost.
Retired Fed (Northern Westchester)
I realize that businesses are taking it on the chin, and education is suffering, but until we have an overwhelming majority of people vaccinated I say we play it close to the vest. We've come this far, and we have so much to lose by blowing it now.
Leslie Shulman (Mexico)
There may be millions of guinea pigs, but not me.
AR (Manhattan)
Stay home forever if you want
Sandi (Garden State-New Jersey)
Count me as dubious. Thanks to the anti-vaxxers, covid will always be with us.
Orangeator (Atlanta)
@Sandi So what is your solution? Force them to be vaccinated? Or just never re-open? Genuinely curious on your thoughts.
Barry (Boston)
Make receiving next stimulus check contingent on being vaccinated!
George S. (NY & LA)
Frankly, if you've been smart enough to get vaxed -- you should be celebrating. You've done the right thing and deserve to be rewarded for it. This reopening is what we've all been waiting for!
Todd (Key West)
Being fully vaccinated I can't imagine anyone in the same situation being anything but excited to return to a normal or at least more normal world. But if your new personal norm is a zero risk free life there are far being dangers than covid, including crossing the street. Unfortunately some number of people will allow their worst germaphobic demons to get in the way of normalizing their lives. But instead of being humored it should be called out for the pathology that it is.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
But what if your spouse is immunosuppressed? Some of them go not develop good immunity despite the vaccine. Sorry but if keeping my mask on means my SO is safer, that’s a small price to pay.
Cordelia (New York City)
@Todd Wow. That's some statement, Todd. Have you even stopped to consider that the efficacy rates for the vaccines fall far short of 100%? That of the tens of millions of people already vaccinated, those who are unlucky enough to get infected could number in the hundreds of thousands to millions? That those who are immunocompromised, and there are plenty of us, are unlikely to acquire the immunity levels published in the reports of clinical trials which involved fewer than 200,000 people in the aggregate? That today in ICUs across the country there are thousands of people 50 years old and under who are intubated and fighting for their lives? That people 65 and older comprise 80% of the COVID-19 deaths, which to date number nearly 600,000 Americans? That thousands of younger people who've been infected and "recovered" from COVID have neurological and other deficits which could very well turn out to be permanent? I guess you didn't think about any of those questions when you summed up those with lingering concerns about COVID as hopeless, pathological germaphobes.
Orangeator (Atlanta)
@Cordelia Thus, America should stay shutdown forever. No hope in sight.
AES (New York, NY)
BDB announced reopen July 1. Then Cuomo, countering BDB, announced reopen May 19. NYC primary is June 22. Reopening based on science or. . . political science?
Concernicus (Hopeless, America)
New Yorkers "dizzy and divided"? Sounds like business as usual. Come on, it was too easy to pass up. It had to be done and you all know it.
Rebecca (USA)
My entire family is vaccinated. I have been operating at my own comfort level for the last year. I read the research and made decisions. Touch services are not a problem, and social distancing is useless unless the ventilation is suitable. I just turned down a patio brunch with 20 women who I do not trust be 100% vaccinated. Although planned for the patio, the weather is turning chilly, and I will not eat indoors. I don't wear a mask outside but will continue to wear one in crowds and always indoor if all are not vaccinated. I don't need a city to tell me what to do. I can think for myself. If you are not vaccinated, and you choose to follow like a lemming, then that's your problem. As for India and its mass rallies and religious retreats in the last month, what can you say? You can't fix stupid.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
My concern is that the immunosuppressed may not be protected and everyone who is taking a chance puts them at risk.
Cate M (Asheville)
You are right to be cautious. People who are vaccinated are taking more chances, hoping to benefit from those who are. Last month friends of mine had an outdoor event. Knowing that many of them weren’t vaccinated, and that I had only received the first shot, I passed. It rained that night, and everyone went inside. When last I checked, ten came down with Covid-19.
Joe B. Yo h (Center City)
Too much, too soon.
I am elated. I’m ready to get back to life.
Pamela (NYC)
I believe Cuomo did this to show up DeBlasio who set July 1 as a goal for full reopening.
Bunk McNulty (Northampton MA)
New York open for business? OK, I guess. As long as JFK and Newark international arrivals are not open for business as usual. That would be very, very stupid.
Casual Observer (Plano, Tx)
Why should Cuomo's political troubles endanger million of lives? Its a gross and blatant disregard for public safety. If we are at 85-95% vaccination rates then this would be a viable option but we are no where near these rates. It's incredibly reckless. We all want a return to normally but the only way that is going to happen is to incentivize more people to get vaccines. Not by giving money to get vaccinated but rather requiring proof of vaccination to re-engage in normal activities. Social stigma is a tremendous human motivator.
Orangeator (Atlanta)
@Casual Observer Like the donkey and the carrot.
Ben K (Miami)
Many are done with the virus. That does not mean it is done with us. Fully vaccinated but no illusion of invulnerability. I can still get sick and I can still spread to others. Only now I’m far less likely to burden an ICU. It may not contribute to an economic spring bard, but I will continue to see all strangers as potential spreaders and opt to continue avoiding any situation involving groups of unmasked people. This is an easy discipline for me. As it becomes safer to do so, I will graduate toward increasing contact with vaccinated small groups of friends. The law allows many hazardous pursuits. Scaling cliffs, riding a motorcycle in some states without a helmet, smoking, and so on. I choose not to engage.
Orangeator (Atlanta)
@Ben K Many people on here do not share your same viewpoint. They believe the state should intervene in those who wish to engage in hazardous pursuits.
We are now at a point where we can confidently say that anyone who wants to get vaccinated can be. If someone decides not to, that is their own (irresponsible) decision but the rest of us should not have to delay getting back to a degree of normalcy as a result.
Roxanne de Koning (Sacramento CA)
The decision to re-open, while taken on a pubic even by government, is still an individual choice to a great extent. I live in California, and we do have (restricted) openings here. Yea choose not to participate in those which seem risky. We will not eat in restaurants, use public transportation, or go where mask laws are either openly flouted or simply not fully enforced by proprietors. We are socializing more, but I left a family Easter gathering because CDC guidelines were not being followed, risking family censure. Yes, opening prematurely is risky, but making public practice one's chosen norm is just plain irresponsible.
Ron A (NJ)
I don't eat in restaurants often and have no interest in bars but I'd like to get back to visiting museums and NYC has plenty of them. And, I can keep my mask on the whole time, unlike places where I'd be eating or drinking. It will be interesting, to say the least, to go to a movie and suddenly everyone starts taking off their masks when the lights go down. It would be tough, even when vaccinated. I'll also have plenty to deal with if they open up all the treadmills at the gym and waive all occupancy restrictions in the classrooms.
The Rational Libertarian (NJ)
It is not possible to keep restrictions in place at this point. Most of the willing are already vaccinated with at least one dose and regardless of what actual percentage of the population has immunity either through vaccine or previous illness this is where we are. We can either move back to normal life and do our best to convince the reluctant or try to maintain restrictions in an attempt to protect the vaccine reluctant from themselves. That just isn't happening. The Vaccinated rightly wonder why they should sacrifice for the anti vaccine crowd and the anti vaccine folks never believed in the restrictions anyway. We may well see Vaccine Passports and in fact are already seeing the Cruise Industry and Concert Venues making plans to operate but only for the vaccinated. But just continuing blanket restrictions for all and suffocating business over the stupidly stubborn isn't going to fly. I suspect a major motivator in NY and NJ for May 19 was leadership knew darn well they couldn't sustain the restrictions and keep telling the vaccinated they still have to behave as if there is no vaccine widely available to all.
alan brown (manhattan)
One quote in the article caught my eye: " It's almost like love is in the air". Well, maybe, but for sure the coronavirus is too. I am one of those who believe the reopenings everywhere are driven by politics and economic considerations and are not science based or based on common sense. What happens in Wuhan doesn't stay in Wuhan and what happens in India may not stay there either. I've heard one political figure after another outdoing one another but I haven't heard Drs Walensky, Gottlieb or Fauci weigh in. India, at one time, was congratulating itself as were other Asian and European nations but recurrent surges spelled trouble and caution should be in the air as well.
lydgate (Virginia)
"Amadou Diallo, 52, a screenwriter, worries that people will lie about having received a vaccine and will endanger others. . . . 'I think this last year and a half has shown that people are selfish, and you can’t really trust them.'” I'm with Mr. Diallo. Most people have been responsible during the pandemic and taken reasonable measures to protect others, but a substantial minority have not. They're the real danger, not the virus itself. In one of the pictures accompanying this article, of people sitting in a subway car, one man has his mask down around his chin. I'm not exposing myself to this kind of danger, vaccinated or not. And without a system to ensure that people are telling the truth about their own vaccinations, I am staying away from any public indoor spaces.
Neil (Brooklyn)
I am not conflicted. I am vaccinated, will still wear a mask in public, and refrain from restaurants, theaters and other venues that are likely transition hubs. I expect I will change my behavior when I see five days of less than 5000 cases nationwide. But that’s just me. Ya’ll go party if that’s what you want to do.
BChad (Brooklyn)
@Neil I am with Neil. I am skeptical. Already, I see people walking around without any masks. I think the re-opening is done too fast, probably with a dash of politics thrown in. It seems a coincidence that re-opening occurs as Cuomo is investigated for his activities. I am in my 70s, and will be as careful as possible. Though I am vaccinated, I am not in any rush to go to any movie theater or restaurant simply because it is open and I can go there. Uh-uh. I think re-opening now is too risky.
sugarsnap108 (New York)
@Walter But we'll be exposed to those doordash drivers.
Tony Gamino (NYC)
Get vaccinated. If you don’t, as the city and country open up, you’re only inviting potential trauma into your life. You do not want Covid. Just ask anyone who had a serious case or is still suffering long haul symptoms. As for me I’ll be the first one in line for the booster this fall if it’s offered.
Gene G (Palm Desert CA)
To those who think this reopening is too soon, when do you think is not too soon ? A month from now, six months, a year, never ? Every relevant source of data cries out for reopening - and now. Those who still shun the idea are simply risk adverse, and that is their right. Just don't inflict excessive caution on the rest of us. Stay home if you are really worried. And please, be consistent with your risk assessment. Right now, your risk of contracting COVID, then getting complications so serious that you are hospitalized and perhaps die are a fraction of a fraction of one percent. Your risk of getting into a serious car accident every time you drive is probably higher. So, may I suggest, if you are really that concerned about risks to your health- don't drive ! The rest of us want to go on experiencing the life that science now supports. So please, either join us or get out of the way.
@Gene G Reopening means that those of us who you call 'risk adverse' won't have a choice to stay home. Employers will take this as an opportunity to reopen offices and pressure people to return. All of this puts us at exposure, especially when vaccinations are not mandatory. The science is also not out on whether the vaccines are effective against the new mutations. The science however does support that we need to reach a certain vaccination threshold in order to achieve herd immunity, a threshold that has not yet been reached in NY. So take your right wing points with you and stay in CA, thank you.
Emilia (NCY)
@Gene G The time is right when hospital employees had a moment to breath relive. That hasn’t happened and will most likely also not happen any time soon. Our freedom, their exhaustion.
Eddie B. (Toronto)
There are those in the US and Canada who will not act responsibly until they start seeing the equivalent of what is happening in India in their own hometowns. With these reckless, thoughtless, individuals around, full reopening of cities in two weeks is pure madness. I am with the view that cities should condition reopening of bars and schools on having at least 75% of their populations vaccinated. Yes, it sounds like blackmailing those who are sitting on vaccination-hesitancy fence. But then that may be the only way to get them jump off the fence. And that can be justified - at least in my mind - in terms of being for the good of the entire country. Giving these individuals positive incentives - such as paying them $50 - to vaccinate will not work. That will make them even more suspicious that something dubious must be going on.
The Rational Libertarian (NJ)
@Eddie B. Holding the whole city hostage over the holdouts won't work. What we do is restrict the holdouts from most public activity. No Vaccine, No Entry for everything from schools to sporting events to bars and restaurants. You'll get all but the hardcore 10% of committed home school science denier lunatics right quick if you need a vaccine to go to happy hour.
heinrichz (brooklyn)
On the other hand we are reading about the slowing vaccination rates and fully opening really makes no sense if half of the population has not been vaccinated at all. Cuomo who is always bragging about science based decisions is risking messing this up for his own political gain. Opening for business reasons is also a silly thing to do when we end up with another lockdown possibly based on new variants that might even make the existing vaccinations less effective by then. If this case Cuomo should be held responsible and removed from office.
Hermoine P. (Portland, Oregon)
Unlike NY, the number of covid cases in the state of Oregon have never been higher. They're among the highest in the nation, particularly in our larger cities and on native lands. Sensibly, our governor decided to extend the lockdown for a few more weeks. Guess what? She's getting a batch of suits thrown at her by businesses who are running out of money. Who can blame them? On the other hand, it's money--and economic survival--talking there. This is just where we started a year ago: The cost of treating covid by the only means we had, locking ourselves down. Now we also have the vaccine. And a whole lotta people are refusing to take it, in these parts. Of course, they're mostly the people who want to "open up" again. Only now there's another element--variants of covid, particularly in this state. Who's taking bets on the likelihood that this virus will surge back up again, in a short time? With a mostly unvaccinated population, it's bound to. So where's Fauci on this fanatical wave of "freedom" anti-vaxxers and the governors assailed by them?
Robert B (America)
One-third of New Yorkers are vaccinated. Laudable, yet according to every epidemiologist not remotely close to herd immunity. Some may argue we may never reach herd immunity, yet we need to do better before fully reopening. What's to stop us from becoming the next Michigan? New York reopens everything 100% in 2 weeks; that's packed theaters, packed trains, packed stores, and most not wearing masks. What makes anyone think there won't be a massive spike in infections and deaths from the pervasive B.1.1.7 Variant (commonly called the U.K. Variant)? It's 80% more transmissible, 60% more deadly, and far more deadly to people in their 20's, 30's, and 40's with the lowest vaccination rates. What makes New Yorkers think they won't suffer the fate of Michiganders? The fact that we have taller buildings, better bagels, more Starbucks, and a population density of over 70,000 people per square mile as opposed to Detroit's 5,000 people per square mile? Pfizer is more effective than J&J against the B.1.1.7 variant, but is still less effective, meaning B.1.1.7 will burn through the 65% of New Yorkers not vaccinated, and approx. 12% of those vaccinated. Finally, there's a far more dangerous variant in India. It's causing deadly break-through infections in fully vaccinated physicians. Does anyone believe we can keep it out of the U.S.? People pretended the original infection wasn't going to wind up in the U.S. How did that work out? 600,000 dead; 10 million with organ damage.
Mark Golden (Portland)
Sounds like a whole lot of common sense to me.
Todd (San Fran)
@Robert B Robert, I posted an equally breathless objection like yours. What are people thinking?? If we spike numbers in the summer, what will happen come this fall? foolishness
@Robert B I'm in Michigan. A doctor friend today told me the variant from India is already in the state. I don't know if it's true, but I'm sure it will be true soon if she is incorrect. But I have little reason to believe she's incorrect.
Eric (People’s republic of Brooklyn)
For seven years I’ve watched and wondered every time Andrew Cuomo announced a policy that undercut one announced by Bill deBlasio; and I can’t help but think this is another one. But one that has more serious consequences.
Marta (NYC)
This. When deBlasio said July 1, Cuomo sneered and said ‘premature.’ A few days later, he announces NY is reopening in 2 weeks. It’s like a kindergartner with a grudge is in charge of public health policy.
Erik (Westchester)
Great news for the vaccinated, and great news for those at low risk. And if you worried about restaurants, try dinner Tuesday night at 5:45. Nobody will be near you.
dtrain1027 (Boston, Ma)
The basic question is do the benefits of ongoing covid interventions/restrictions/protocols outweigh the downsides. This is not a static changes as the baseline risk plummets. The baseline risk does not have to get to zero, and in fact almost never gets to zero, for the calculation to fundamentally change. With covid, this debate was not possible because naked political affiliation was attributed to these interventions, which clouds thinking. We’ve also normalized anxiety and turned it into social virtue. Many people I know are patiently waiting for the CDC to give them permission to live again. What happens when they wait for years and don't get this? Because it’s functionally not how CDC recommendations and advisories work. The CDC has a strong bureaucratic bias towards caution and qualifiers. Now we have terrific, widely available vaccines which reduces risk to close to zero. Some people enjoy solitary, monastic lives. For the rest of us, it's time to emerge from covid fear. The vaccine has allowed us to do that.
Michael Ward (Philadelphia, PA)
I really think re-opening now is too soon. This gives the non-caring people a license to be recklessness, not wear a mask or get vaccinated. The media and politicians are giving confusing mixed messaging. That's why we can't get the pandemic under control. I predict another big surge in cases by August 😟. Thanks.
aggrieved taxpayer (new york state)
The Times keeps reporting that there is "very high risk" pretty much everywhere. At the same time, we see that the number of deaths on a 7 day rolling basis keeps going down, and the same with number of new cases. Is there any number of cases that will qualify as low risk? And is there any realistic chance that in anyone's lifetime that we will ever get there? Very possibly not. Thus, if things keep getting better and better, time to open up. And since "high risk" and "low risk" for that matter are arbitrarily determined, sort of like a "high" degree of confidence in statistics, maybe the media can redefine the numerical bases for high and low to recognize current conditions.
Brian (Brooklyn)
@aggrieved taxpayer It's not arbitrary at all according to the article. It states: "The risk in New York City will decrease to high risk if the daily case rate drops to less than about 11.4 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks and the test positivity stays low." It goes on to say that "a county is at a low risk level if it reported an average daily rate of less than 1 case per 100,000 people over the past two weeks." And the Times worked with public health experts at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Resolve to Save Lives to develop the methodology. I personally will follow those recommendations over any politician's at this point.
heinrichz (brooklyn)
@aggrieved taxpayer Did we not see the same thing last June and then it all went up again by the fall?
RSM (Philadelphia)
It’s worth the risk to reopen NYC in two weeks providing their is an uptick in Covid vaccine shots given. My hesitation and fear is that Republicans, who generally follow their leader, will refuse vaccine shots until the media begins to question the Biden Administration’s vaccine plan.
@RSM - Luckily there are very few Republicans in NYC.
Christine Finn (Queens)
It would have been interesting to hear how many of those interviewed have been vaccinated. Holdouts I know are nervous about reopening, but those of us who had the vax are more relaxed about it.
The Rational Libertarian (NJ)
@Christine Finn If you refuse vaccine you have NO right to ask for further lockdown, Get vaccinated or take your chances. We have reached the point where the vaccinated are not going to sacrifice for a bunch of anti science fools who could go get their shot right now, walk in's OK, no appointment needed.
Anne (S)
This does seem a little soon. What is the rush? Businesses are suffering, I understand, but I’m not ready for returning to packed bars or eating at tables cheek to jowl. I’ll be staying masked outside and maintaining social distance even though I’m already vaccinated. I get that workers need to start coming back to the office but I’m in no rush to return to pre-pandemic so-called normal.
JC (Pennsylvania)
@Anne Workers really don't need to go back to office if they are getting the work done from home. The only people who want that are the people who make money off those workers. But, it's not for the benefit of the workers themselves and we all know this.
Ro Fo (Millwood NY)
Until Broadway theaters reopen, New York will not be fully reopened.
The Rational Libertarian (NJ)
@Ro Fo That's going to take time for purely logistical reasons. You can't whistle up a Broadway Production or even bring back an existing one that's shut down in less than several months. Figure September for the major productions. July for the smaller stuff.
Dan88 (Long Island NY)
Me, I was vaccinated in March, but I'm going to be masking up for a good long time into the future. And avoiding crowds. And it's not just Covid. It's seeing all those simulations and videos of how a person exhaling expels all sorts of particles that float all around a room. I just don't want to be breathing in all the other junk coming out of a nearby stranger's lungs. At least for the time being. And not just what's coming out of their mouths that is breathed in. Remember the news coverage of "fecal plumes" after someone flushes? That can contain Covid, and certainly is disgusting even if it doesn't.
Todd (San Fran)
@Dan88 Meanwhile, I'd gladly take whatever germs she's got if I could date again.
The Rational Libertarian (NJ)
@Dan88 Enjoy life as a hermit. Personally I can't wait to go see a live band in a packed bar again. Me and My Moderna (fully vaccinated) have a year+ of lockdown to make up for. Otherwise why even bother?
Dan88 (Long Island NY)
If being a hermit means I don’t have to ever be in a loud, crowded bar breathing in whatever @The Rational Libertarian and his fellow bar-flies are exhaling, then sign me up. @Todd: You may want to work on that attitude/outlook of objectifying women. It’s likely not the pandemic that has stifled your dating prospects.
LIChef (EastCoast)
Money is king in America, with our collective health a much lower priority. It’s telling that not a single frontline healthcare worker was interviewed for this story.
dimseng (san francisco)
@LIChef and why not?
Laurence Bachmann (New York)
At this point I don't trust Andrew Cuomo enough to make an impartial decision. His nursing home policy was a disaster and he lied about the results. He cashed in on a health crises with a $4 million book deal. Despicable. Now we're supposed to believe he has our interests, not his political interests at heart here? I'm more than a little skeptical.
heinrichz (brooklyn)
@Laurence Bachmann He yet needs to be prosecuted for the nursing home decision.
John (Biggs)
We'll just get another wave of infections and closings. Betcha a dollar.
Sinatra’s Kid (NYC)
The picture of the guy driving his motor scooter on the sidewalk is priceless. He thinks it’s “reckless” to reopen city by May 19. Get off the sidewalk!
WSB (Manhattan)
@Sinatra’s Kid Indeed, electric bikes in fact bikes of any sort are a menace and the police should at least cofiscate the bikes.
Dana (Tucson)
He's got a clown mask on; he's riding those sidewalks like it's his own personal circus. Make sure you're not part of the act.
Jennifer (NJ)
For the most part this is smoke and mirrors. Opening up? My boyfriend owns a restaurant in NY State and.... great capacity opening up, but if still need to seat 6 feet apart doesn't help his business.
Larry Thiel (Iowa)
The people that want everyone to spend the rest of their lives at home and wearing a mask, need to be ignored.
heinrichz (brooklyn)
@Larry Thiel The people that are not vaccinated will need to be banned from all public spaces and events.
Rebecca (USA)
@Larry Thiel Have fun! Just let me know your whereabouts so I can stay clear.
Homer J. Fong (Carlisle, PA)
@Larry Thiel The people who want everyone to recklessly endanger their lives mingling with maskless rubes spewing COVID need to be ignored.
Jeremy (NYC)
Why did we develop Excelsior Pass if we are not going to use it?
Ken (Rancho Mirage)
Cuomo has undone the good that he had done!
JamesDJ (Arlington VA)
And get ready for another summer like 2020’s - more makeshift morgues in the park. But Andrew Cuomo doesn’t care how many people die as a result of this premature and irresponsible reopening as long as it keeps everyone’s attention away from his scandals. And I guess all you Trumpers won’t mind either because you’ll die for the freedom to eat in a crowded restaurant. I miss New York but I’m so glad I no longer live there - and I’m so sorry for those that still do.
Louis (Denver,CO)
@JamesDJ wrote: "And get ready for another summer like 2020’s - more makeshift morgues in the park." Do you have any science to back that up or is this just a perverse fantasy you have?
Anthony Uptown (The Bronx)
@JamesDJ What city did you spend the summer of 2020 in? Clearly not New York, because I remember declining deaths, infections, and hospitalizations in NYC last summer. And that was before the vaccine and during the thousands of protestors who gathered almost everyday with no social distancing.
Sidewalk Sam (New York, NY)
@JamesDJ No need to feel sorry for us. As usual, we're living more interesting, more fulfilling lives than people outside New York City.
I wish the Times would stop indulging in spurious both-sides-ism and giving airtime to people who simply refuse to accept good news. Cases are plummeting all over the country, including in places that fully reopened long ago. Vaccine sites are taking walk-ins. It is now time to go back to normal. Anyone who's afraid of the virus should go get a vaccine today.
heinrichz (brooklyn)
@R What good are vaccination sites if so many people refuse to get vaccinated as seems to be the case now?
Anthony Uptown (The Bronx)
@heinrichz That's their choice. Is the rest of society supposed to remain in indefinite lockdown until they change their minds?
The Rational Libertarian (NJ)
@heinrichz What good are people who refuse to get vaccinated? THAT is the Question.
Bob (Port Chester)
Uh-oh. Um - NO! Too soon. Politically motivated. It may well backfire. Too many people have been "misbehaving" without this. What happens when things get worse again? Just sayin'.
JC (Pennsylvania)
@Bob It should blow up for the people who act irresponsible and maybe they should be turned away at the hospital if they already refused the vaccine.
David Henry (Concord)
Too many unknowns to fully celebrate.
Brian (Brooklyn)
Every day I look at the NYT homepage and see: "New York City is at a very high risk of exposure to Covid-19." And I click through to see: "Indoor activities are very dangerous right now." I take that seriously. But now Cuomo is reopening things full-bore, with no increments, no benchmarks for shutting down again if cases rise? It seems Cuomo has gone from the data-driven governor of last year at this time to mimicking the dunces in Florida or Texas. I'm fully vaccinated but have no desire to enter a restaurant or jazz club for quite a while still.
WSB (Manhattan)
@Brian With the weather in NYC turning nice, why eat inside? If you're vaccinated the risk is small, but outside is better.
NYC Taxpayer (East Shore, S.I.)
@WSB Inside is far more comfortable, especially during NYC's hot humid summer months.
Bocheball (New York City)
The front page of the online edition says NYC is very high risk, so it seems contrary to a safe reopening, but I guess with the vaccines some of us are safe. Still, it all feels very political. Is Andrew trying to curry favor with voters?
Robert (Where Truth Prevails)
Everyone wants normality but unfortunately the new normal with swift reopening will be lather rinse repeat. Already seen this movie before and I know how it ends. Wanting the pandemic to be over doesn’t make it so but unfortunately for America there is no vaccine against stupidity.
Adam (Massachusetts)
So when did everyone under 16 get vaccinated?
Cuomo and deBlasio agree on something? What could possibly go wrong?
SolarCat (Up Here)
I’ll keep being cautious, thank you.
JC (Pennsylvania)
@SolarCat Exactly and as a thank you to politicians re-opening only for financial gain smart people will stay home and keep their money in the bank.
A. Gallaher (San Diego)
In Greek tragedy Hubris is followed by Nemesis...
Homer J. Fong (Carlisle, PA)
@A. Gallaher Ugh. Didn't we just get rid of the Nemesis on January 20?
B. (Brooklyn)
No. We got rid of Hubris on January 20. Nemesis comes when tax documents prove money laundering for Russian interests.
Jay Why (Upper Wild West)
Hmmmm...isn’t being dizzy and divided two key covid symptoms?
John H. (New York)
How does this decision to reopen jibe with the "Very High Risk" category the Times says describes New York City vis à vis the virus?
Scottsdale Jack (In exile in CT)
They still say the same thing about Hartford County here in Connecticut, but if you look at the numbers it's something like 17 infections out of every 100,000 people which doesn't sound very high to me. Half the people here have been vaccinated, and we have less than 400 people in the hospital because of COVID. The only number I look at anymore is the daily death total and that keeps going down.
Billy (NY)
Keep living in fear.
Kyle (Brooklyn)
This article could use some opinions from epidemiologists.
NY Times reports every day that we are "high risk." Says it all. Too soon!
Biden2024 (The GreaT State Of NJ)
With the vaccine availability.... its time! Get jabbed, like we all prayed we could this time last year, and let’s get this nightmare behind us! No excuses! Let’s go!
Toby (California)
Folks is there anywhere more doomerish than the NYT comment section, with cases nearing lows and the vaccine widely available, people are still mad about reopening. The biggest thing is nobody gives their own timeline, just “when the pandemic is over/better”. If you read these comments with dread just know if you’ve got your shot the world is out there, don’t not do anything because of what online people said
Scottsdale Jack (In exile in CT)
There was an article here recently about how while conservatives underestimate the risks of the virus, liberals wildly overestimate how dangerous it is. These comments are proof positive of the latter.
No NE (CT)
@Toby I so agree. I actually canceled my subscription cause I can’t stand reading them anymore. But here I am watching the train wreck. I’m going to take my vaccinated *ss out to a bar instead
Michael (Seattle)
Our country is racked with black and white thinking. It is pervasive right and left, young and old. People cannot accept what was true a few weeks ago isn’t today due to rapid change. Essentially “You told us being near people was bad, so it’s bad forever!” Obviously if we can just see the larger picture even in areas with cases rising deaths are way down, because the vulnerable are vaccinated. This is a case where common sense and basic statistical numeracy of the public would help.
Nicholas (New York, NY)
Most young influencers on social media haven't cared about any sort of covid restrictions since last March. They all found a way to go to the countries that were still open and either take covid there or bring covid back. So there are lot of young people who haven't really stopped their lives in the past year anywhere. But not enough people are getting vaccinated, especially since vaccination rates are slowing down despite abundant supply. And don't even get me started on the idiots who won't get the vaccine at all. The good news is that opening too early and in this arbitrary manner is gonna give the US the push it needs to catch up with India.
JC (Pennsylvania)
@Nicholas Once older people have been vaccinated the millennials can be the ones to fill up the hospitals, let them see where their irresponsible decisions land them. Pathetic how some people see life as nothing other than one big party.
zoran svorcan (New York City)
Time to open...
Homer J. Fong (Carlisle, PA)
@zoran svorcan ...more cemeteries.
Mary Rossano (Lexington, KY)
They can open up, but I won't go into a crowded indoor space anytime soon. I hope that there are still plenty of outdoor options for people who do not want to take that risk.
Jack (New Jersey)
If people are feeling it’s too much, too fast, stay home. There are fellow citizens who need their jobs back, and those of us that are vaccinated that would like to return to work and to doing the things we enjoy. Precautions should not be thrown away, but the opening will proceed as fast as people are comfortable going out.
Lisa (NYC)
I guess I'm one of those folks who wouldn't be accused of being 'reckless' nor 'overly-paranoid' (such that I've not left my home the past 14 months). But I probably do err more on the side of cautious. While we've been allowed, for much of the past year, to fly, or dine indoors, I've not wanted to partake in these activities just yet. I've kept my subway and bus use very limited....much more so than would be the norm for me. I am a bit surprised by this talk of what sounds like ... a 'full' reopening...a la pre-March of 2020? Yeah, that just feels a bit too soon...actually, unfathomable, to even wrap my head around that, mentally or emotionally. Especially with the warmer months ahead, and chances for myriad outdoor activities, why at the very least can't we keep indoor dining and bars at their current lower capacities, while allowing for more folks to enjoy such things out of doors? And with regards to dance clubs, jazz clubs, and any other places where folks are usually packed in, again, why not just plan for more outdoor such activities during the summer? Give a few more months for more folks to get vaccinated, etc., and then if we want to more fully reopen After the summer, then fine. But how hard would it be, even for all of us who are very weary, to just focus more on the (safer) outdoor versions of all these activities, for just a few more months? While I might go to a bookstore, library or museum, there's no way I'm ready for clubs, restaurants, bars, etc
What will the mask rules be indoors on May 19? Do we still have to wear them indoors and in the subway? The one thing that was puzzling is I would have expected reopening to be tied to vaccination rates — like that once 80% of people had had both shots then we would open up. But to have a random date and not know what rate will be fully vaccinated by that point ... it seems kind of haphazard and not based in science. So that’s why I’m wondering how this reopening is defined. Is it that everything is open but we all have to wear masks indoors? “Reopen” seems to imply something different from normalcy but I don’t know what the restrictions will be.
Michael Fiorillo (NYC)
Endemic Covid, here we come... The US is opening up, while vaccination rates are still low, and using intellectual property regulations embedded in international trade agreements to prevent generic vaccine production for the global South. Human folly marches on, largely unopposed.
Laurie W. (Branford, CT)
First, super thrilled to see Atticus books featured! I'm in nearby Branford, CT but used to live on the Upper West Side. If NY didn't have a sleazy governor anxious to score political points, I'd be less worried. But Lamont and Murphy follow his lead. Science, not an interest in turning the page from sexual harassment claims, should drive all of this. I'm vaccinated and planning to move about more freely anyway, but I won't eat in a restaurant.
Robert Roth (NYC)
India declared in January that it was all under control. Things are different here. But I fear complacency and fantasy spinning politicians.
Homer J. Fong (Carlisle, PA)
@Robert Roth Exactly. This reminds me of that point in the horror movie where everyone is celebrating at killing the bad guy. But he's not really dead...
George S. (NY & LA)
@Robert Roth Then stay locked down! Me? I'm vaxed and I'm going to start enjoying life again!
Robert Roth (NYC)
@George S. Okay.
Bob The Builder (New York City)
It's nice to get back to some sense of normalcy but it does seem a bit rushed. The risk of contagion in New York City is still rated as "very high". Other parts of New York State are probably very different.
DJS (New York)
@Bob The Builder The risk in upstate New York is rated as "very high". I'd imagine that the risk would come up as "very high" if one typed in various zip codes throughout New York State.
Tortuga (Headwall, CO)
It is good to open up things more. We've eaten out a few times lately but we are vaccinated. Nevertheless, I won't be using public transportation any time soon. That seems a bit too far for now.
@Tortuga - Eating inside has been linked to infection, whereas taking public transportation has not. Interesting what people perceive as safe or not safe.
Scottsdale Jack (In exile in CT)
Connecticut has had restaurants open all year, no outbreaks linked to restaurant dining here.
JC (Pennsylvania)
@Scottsdale Jack It is probably under reported. Those testing positive not admitting they had been to a restaurant or bar is common.
Garth (NYC)
So essentially one person who is not vaccinated and gets it will end up infecting many others who are not vaccinated who in turn will infect others. As long as the disease has new hosts it will just re-emerge. I think it makes sense to wait until at least 80% are vaccinated as seems no way the infection numbers won’t rise again right now. But Cuomo wrote the book on how to handle this thing so I guess we should trust him.
Karun (Frankfurt)
Maybe too early, but the US has done a good job of vaccinating people compared to the EU, which is still lagging far behind the US. The cases in the US per 100,000 people are now far less than most of Europe.
soleilame (New York)
Has everyone forgotten that CHILDREN ARE NOT VACCINATED? Yes, adolescents are now eligible for vaccination, but the clinical tests in children have only just gotten underway. This is -- yet again -- another crucial public health decision being driven by political and economic concerns. Yes, we need to get back to normal, but maybe wait until the entire population is eligible for vaccination, at the very least?
John (Florida)
@soleilame No, but the risks to children from coronavirus are less than the risks from the flu. Which is why my kid has been in school full time for the whole school year with no problems. Nothing to fearmonger about.
Roxanne (Michigan)
@John Not completely true, unfortunately. From the Times: Similar to adults, children with severe COVID-19 may develop respiratory failure, myocarditis, shock, acute renal failure, coagulopathy, and multi-organ system failure. Some children with COVID-19 have developed other serious problems like intussusception or diabetic ketoacidosis. as of: Dec 30, 2020
CCR (Montana)
@soleilame we should worry about supplying adults in other countries before insisting children are vaccinated. It would be the decent thing to do, which is why we won't.
I have mixed feelings about this, especially because the vax rates are still so low. Many commenters here are saying that if people are concerned, they should get vaccinated. To an extent, that reaction makes sense, but there are over a million kids in the city who don't have that choice yet and plenty of folks who legitimately aren't able to get vaccinated for other reasons. I wish we could wait a little longer to get the numbers down here, at least to the low levels we saw last summer before opening up fully. I don't see too much changing for our family. Overnight this weekend masking dropped off dramatically in our neighborhood in Brooklyn (which has very low vax rates, even for seniors.) People will just do what they want, regardless of the impact on others - that's the major takeaway from the last 13 months.
Bill (NYC)
A lot of "seems too soon" and "doesn't feel like the right time" from those against re-opening. What happened to follow the science? The metrics are clear, the studies on immunity and transmission from natural infection and vaccines against Covid and its variants is crystal clear: protection is strong and lasting. If you are vaccinated COVID is no more dangerous to you than any of the other countless diseases we may encounter in daily life. Nothing is 0% risk and nothing ever will be. If you're not ready to go sit in a restaurant that's fine, take your time, but that shouldn't mean the rest of us have to wait on your timescale.
Jeanne (New York)
@Bill I believe the concern is based in the fact that we are all connected. What one group does will affect the other groups. The science also says we should reach herd immunity, and we are not there yet. There are still too many who are not vaccinated, or say they will never be vaccinated. Thus, many will continue to observe an abundance of caution by wearing masks and avoiding indoor activities except with small groups of others who have been vaccinated. We all need to be on the same page to succeed in truly getting to the new normal. And there should be no doubt that it will be a new normal -- and that's not bad if it means adopting good hygiene habits and deep consideration for others.
Toby (California)
But where does having good hygiene habits equate to me not being able to go to college or being able to go to a festival if everyone is fully vaccinated?
Bill (NYC)
@Jeanne It is definitely true that what one group does effects the other. I suppose what is different now is what that effect is. In May 2020 that effect was uncontrollable spread of a virus novel to our collective immune systems, one we had little understanding of and basically zero treatment for. In May 2021 that effect is not nearly as severe. We have treatments and a better understanding of the threat that is COVID 19 and the associated risk. We are leaving the time where we had a collective duty to protect those at risk and most likely to die by putting our lives on hold. The math has changed. The vast majority of those at risk have been vaccinated. We have treatments and options for people beyond "just stay home and mask". For those against re-opening we are willing to listen but the rationale has to be more than "it feels too soon". That's not a valid data point to base policy decision. Let's follow the science, trust the science, trust the modeling, get vaccinated and let's get back to living our lives.
Louis (Denver,CO)
On one side we have people who think COVID-19 is either a hoax or no worse than the flu. On the other side, we have people who think the apocalypse is coming, no matter how many people get vaccinated or how much cases decline. Following the science means policies change as science does but evidently a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum or either don't trust science period or only when it supports their worldview.
JamesDJ (Arlington VA)
@Louis Re-read your post. You posit that there are two sides that are equally unreasonable. They’re not. The first side you mention is demonstrably wrong. The second side may be wrong about the future but given the very real dystopia that New York went through last year, and the disastrous consequences that other cities have had by recklessly re-opening, at least their fears are based on real things that have happened. Yes the vaccine changes the calculation somewhat but why tempt fate when we could do this with more confidence just by waiting another month or two?
Louis (Denver,CO)
@JamesDJ, If were truly only another a month a two, that might be reasonable. However, for many the second group, it will never be the right time to ease restrictions, no matter how much cases decline, so in that regard they're equally unreasonable.
JamesDJ (Arlington VA)
@Louis First of all, you don’t know that. Second of all, bear in mind that what means freedom to you will force thousands of people back into the workplace who have good reason to feel unsafe: not only the extent to which their employers obey safety protocols but also having to take crowded subways with hundreds of people who may be unvaccinated and maskless.
Jim (Jersey City, NJ)
The New York City subway is evidently returning to a 24/7 service schedule. Does this mean the subway cars will no longer get cleaned and return to becoming rolling hotels for the homeless?
Cat (New York)
@Jim Not only that, but I heard on the radio that the restrooms are opening in subway stations -- so the homeless have a place to go.
Lisa (NYC)
@Jim It's been since proven that all the surface disinfecting was mere COVID theatre. The science has shown no indication that anyone ever got COVID from surfaces. Also, since when did any MTA stations have working (open to the public) bathrooms? Not that I'd ever want to use one, mind you...
Reasonable Person (Brooklyn NY)
@Jim they are already rolling hotels for the homeless.
Richard (College Park, MD)
From the beginning, government should have left open/close decisions up to individuals and business owners. People can accept or avoid risks as they see fit.
Alan Morris (Yonkers)
@Richard You can't be serious. The fact that a sizeable portion of the population can't properly weigh the comparative risks of getting the vaccine (slim to none) vs getting COVID (over half million US dead and still climbing) indicates that leaving individuals to make their own choices where public health is concerned would be a disaster.
David (Florida)
@Richard Like in India, recently?
Jeanne (New York)
@Alan Morris You are so right about that! We all have to be on the same page in the case of a pandemic or other disaster. Honestly!
NYC Taxpayer (East Shore, S.I.)
Yesterday in NYC there were 684 new cases of Covid-19, and 28,193 Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered. So 28x more people were vaccinated than contracted Covid. I think it's safe to open up now.
Cat (New York)
@NYC Taxpayer The questions are: can we burn the masks and not worry about the virus jumping fewer than six feet? This crisis is not over until we are free of masks and the distancing dance. Till then, I'm not going anywhere (yes, I'm fully vaccinated).
Jeanne (New York)
@Cat I think as a society we should not be free of masks. We should now wear them routinely during cold and flu season. We might not have a cure for the common cold or the various strains of the seasonal flu, but we sure have a prevention! All those masks we have accumulated over the past year-plus should not go to waste. In addition, medical experts tell us the COVID will be with us well into the future, but with vaccines it will be kept under control and deaths will be kept low. And, then, as we have been told repeatedly, this will not be the last pandemic.
nyer4life (nyc)
If you get vaxed, you cut your risk significantly, wear a mask, you cut it significantly again, make it a KN95 another cut, hang out with the same covid concious people at work, keeping your time down and distance up from others - cut, cut, cut. Don't eat inside the restaurant - cut, avoid the subway when crowded (as possible) - cut, elevator alone (as possible) - cut, live in a City (like NYC) with a low present rate of infection -- cut, hospital system that is by and large preventing mortality - cut. In the end, you are facing very low risk of the most dire outcome right now, if you behave correctly. By comparison, the odds are that drivers will get in 3 car crashes in their lifetime with a 1 in 103 chance of death from a crash. You have a 1 in 114 chance of dyeing when you fall, yet I don't see people spending their lives in chairs.
Lisa (NYC)
@nyer4life Nice to see some common sense here, once in a while. Indeed, I'm far more fearful of the cars (Suburban Assault Vehicles) littering our densely-populated city streets.
@nyer4life hope you meant dying
NYC Taxpayer (East Shore, S.I.)
@nyer4life So I guess I'm due two more car crashes.
Qnbe (NJ)
This is what happens when you have a powerful commercial real estate lobby.
Retired CFO (Pennington,NJ)
We are old, but in good shape, and vaccinated! However, due to my kidney transplant, Doctors and researchers are concerned my body might not be protected against the virus. We intend to control our environment by inviting similarly vaccinated people to our home - outdoors preferred, but inside on oppressively hot days etc. with nice take out meals to be served. We will slowly try a few restaurants that serve outdoors on slow nights - Monday thru Wednesday. We'll start with just the two of us and if someone sits too close, ask the waiter to pack up our meals and leave. It is not panacea, but we've come this far very well and don't intend to rely on what others say unless there is a verifiable vaccine system. The restaurants who refuse to continue outside pickup. we'll simply drop off our restaurant list.
Jeanne (New York)
@Retired CFO That is a very smart approach. I have a dear friend who is in the same boat, who is fully vaccinated but because of underlying health issues is not fully protected.
Iman Onymous (Now Located Outside Your Galaxy)
Heeeeeere we go again ! What worries me is, everyone who contracts COVID-19 is host to billions of little copying machines. And those copying machines are imperfect. They make mistakes. That's the process that drives evolution. How long can we keep farming quadrillions or quintillions of these little error-prone copying machines before one of them makes JUST THE RIGHT error (voila !) that produces a variant virus particle that is as lethal as Ebola and as communicable as the common cold. It's a race with time.
Joel (Los Angeles)
@Iman Onymous But you could make the same argument about any virus, there isn't anything special about coronaviruses in that regard. There are many reservoirs of virus species that we cannot fully eradicate, that have the (tiny) possibility of mutating into the "perfect storm" - but still we must go about our daily lives eventually.
Iman Onymous (Now Located Outside Your Galaxy)
@Joel Yes, I agree with what you said, but COVID-19 seems to be closer to creating that perfect storm than most other viruses. It just lacks that certain... je ne sais quoi... to start ripping through the monoculture that is our species. The really frustrating thing is, if only 99% of people would have taken adequate precautions a year ago, we'd have this thing off our backs. But, there was Trump...
Iman Onymous (Now Located Outside Your Galaxy)
@DRS Yes, I agree completely. That's why I said quadrillions or quintillions. Maybe, when you include ALL the world, it's an order or two orders of magnitude higher than quintillions. I don't know. I can't count that fast.
Opinioned! (NYC)
Will the nightly cleaning of the subway be done away in the spirit of reopening? Will restaurants stop offering hand sanitizers per table? Are the lessons about basic hygiene like handwashing be totally forgotten?
Lisa (NYC)
@Opinioned! If you check recent news reports, the scientific community already determined that, in fact, there is no evidence that anyone was getting COVID from surfaces. Also, even pre-COVID, anyone who lives in a big city, and esp folks who use the subway, should already have good habits along those lines. Me, while I'm not a compulsive hand-washer, I always go to the bathroom and wash my hands before dining in a restaurant and if I were on the subway, on a bus, and/or at a store and handling money, debit card touch pad, door handles, etc., the First Thing I do upon arriving home is wash my hands. Hand sanitizers, at least in normal times, are actually a bad thing. Simple soap and water is best. Hand sanitizers (and over-sanitizing in general) is what helps to create super-bacterias.
Annie (Boston)
@Lisa - the voice of sanity!!!!!!!
m l (northeast)
As before it’s all about whether you can trust that other people are doing everything to stay healthy (and aren’t asymptomatically infected). Even though I am vaccinated, it’s the less effective J & J in terms of getting sick. Given that even the flu shot hasn’t fully protected me in recent years, I can’t rely on this vaccine either and could end up among the 35 percent who get sick. So although I have taken the subways for some time, and begun sitting at some restaurants, it is only for brief durations, uncrowded, and with plenty of ventilation. Until I can get doses of the other vaccines...
Bill (NYC)
@m l The J&J shot is extremely protective against symptomatic infection. You don't need another vaccine. You are misinterpreting the efficacy data. An efficacy of 65% doesn't mean 35% of people who got that vaccine get sick. It means you are 65% less likely to get covid compared to those in the placebo group of the trials. Not at all the same math. Additionally that is the measure for a breakthrough infection which in nearly all cases will be either asymptomatic or extremely mild. Your risk of hospitalization and death is even lower (>99% protection). Do some research and start comparing this risk to others you may encounter in your life.
Everyone wants things back to normal but they aren’t normal. Even though the vaccines are great, they aren’t 100% and they are less likely to fully prevent illness and complications in those who are older and higher risk. Plus there are variants that we know are less affected by vaccine immunity. It’s clear that the virus is airborne and indoor ventilation problems haven’t been addressed in many buildings. The CDC has loosened masking to convince people to get the vaccine but they are still walking a tightrope and Cuomo is just playing politics. When there is another surge then more people will die. Focus on getting people vaccinated and kids back to school. The rest should be rolled out more slowly!
Keith (New York, NY)
@NY MD I respect the right of frightened people to remain in the conditions that applied during previous lockdowns. No one should be *required* to venture out before they feel able to do so. My girlfriend and I (111 years old combined, 2d vaccine Feb.11) love dining indoors and going to jazz clubs and theater, and I'm thrilled that the Chamber Music Society and rock shows at the Garden are back. When such events are shown longitudinally to be safe, others can join us.
Nick (Binghamton)
@NY MD It IS being rolled out slowly. Capacity percentages have been slowly increasing in restaurants/bars/etc., and even at 100% capacity allowed on 5/19 masks and social distancing are still required. It is not "anything goes." Let's all take a deep breath and read what the new requirements actually are.
Lisa (NYC)
@Nick Is there something I'm missing? How can a place be full capacity and still socially-distanced? Most NYC restaurants, bars, clubs etc, operating at 100% capacity, can't accommodate social distancing at the same time....?
Andy Hain (Carmel, CA)
At 73 with diabetes and heart disease... I think I'll take a break from all this too good to be true news. The news from yesteryear is still in the front of my memory, and I just can't get past it.
@Andy. The good news is you’re in Carmel! Wishing you the best.
Jeanne (New York)
@Andy Hain Take your time. You are not alone. Stay safe.
Rich (Canada)
Hmmm... There's been a pattern around the world of places experiencing lowered case counts and then relaxing restrictions too soon, bringing on a new surge of the virus. As the health experts keep pointing out, this virus is an opportunist and just lays in wait for the guard going down even a bit too early. As much as I love the idea of NYC being open again (I can't wait to visit), the "everyone open up it's ok now!" move at this time seems a tad ominous.
Evan (New Jersey)
@Rich Except many of the places you cite have very low vaccination rates. If a country's low case/death count is due to adherence to mask mandates/social distancing, an abandonment of those behaviors will indeed drive up the count. If it's due to vaccinations, however, the numbers are more "locked in", as Ashish Jha and Eric Topol like to say. This is why vaccinations = getting our lives back. Giving people protection from the virus means that they no longer have to abide by the exhausting NPIs to keep our society safe. This is the endgame, and I'm glad that we're beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
trudds (sierra madre, CA)
@Evan Everyone I know (myself included) would be overjoyed if this were true and it probably is. But even the small chance it isn't is enough to give one pause. Hope you're right and it all goes wonderfully - stay safe!
Moscow Reader (Anywhere)
@Evan Thank you for this well worded response.
I am totally against this re-opening, particularly since variants continue to develop unchecked in other areas of the world and are certain to come here. I believe that eventually one of these variance will outflank the vaccines and that, if we are 100% open, that variant will spread, just as Covid spread in 2020. Before we can react, people will die. New York State is making a long shot bet that it will be able to control outbreaks from any new variant with the current vaccine. The odds - past history - show that to be a weak bet. I do not want to be the canary in the coal mine. Let me give you an example. I teach p/t at a 4-year CUNY college. We were told we would be mostly online in the fall. (Some instructors elected to go face-to-face.) When our schedules were last Friday, however, virtually all courses were listed face-to-face. This was obviously a last-minute about-face, with no notice to the department chairs; when the chair of my department checked out our schedules, through her latest "back door," the courses were still listed as online. Apparently, changes were made mid-week last week. These hasty decisions, made due to political pressure, put us at risk. I have no intention of teaching face-to-face in the fall and will quit if not provided with an accommodation. May people do not have that luxury. We are being used to benefit the real estate industry, restaurant industry and other business interests, a/k/a, donors. This is outrageous, and will cost lives.
Scottsdale Jack (In exile in CT)
I'm not sure about Pfizer and Moderna, but I know the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested on three continents including in South Africa and Brazil and was found to be effective against variants. If you still have concerns you are free to keep wearing a mask.
William (New York City)
I completely agree with you. This is politics and not based on any sort of metric of vaccination, which makes me suspicious. I can't help but think this has something to do with the upcoming NYC primary elections.
Nick (Binghamton)
@RMC So the alternative is--what? Ignore experts and stay closed indefinitely? Vaccines have, so far, proven effective against variants. Of course a new one might pop up that vaccines don't deal with effectively, at which point we'll all have to deal with that. But I think it would be unwise to stay closed until COVID is completely eradicated--especially as experts are saying that won't happen for years, if ever.
Itzajob (New York, NY)
The Excelsior Pass is not what it's cracked up to be. I'm not eligible, because I got my first shot somewhere else. There is no fix for this, unless it's getting a third shot here on NYS.
@Itzajob - There really should be a nationwide version, but I think Biden is afraid it will rile up the right wing freedom lovers too much.
Introverted extrovert (New York)
I have no desire for pre-pandemic normalcy. My office just announced phased reopening in July and I already have anxiety. The thought of returning to the rat race - whereas now I actually eat lunch, control my schedule, exercise in the middle of the day and have gotten to know my neighbourhood better than ever before. Sure there were dark days but I didn’t think I would be nostalgic for the new normal.
Rossa (New York)
@Introverted extrovert, I count myself blessed to have been able to transition to freelance work-from-home in a chosen field as opposed to the in-office and restaurant work I did before. It does not mean I work any less, many days are jam-packed, but the freedom to eat when I'm hungry, schedule a break midday to exercise or go for a short walk as opposed to hiding for 10 minutes in the restroom to catch a breath, the fact that I am the master of my own time as long as I get everything done....and without having to worry about how I look at work every's EVERYTHING. I wish you the best.
Justin (Omaha)
@Introverted extrovert, can we trade places? I want to go back to the office (mostly), see people, travel for business, etc. The good news for you is that if you like remote work, you can easily unplug your computer and plug in with a different company.
Nick (Binghamton)
@Introverted extrovert That's fine for you--I'm glad this has worked for you. But it has decimated multiple industries (think: restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, etc.). Again, I'm glad you've enjoyed your time during COVID. But for many, many people that is not the case.
Scottsdale Jack (In exile in CT)
If people are fearful they should be getting vaccinated. I wore a mask for a year, I got vaccinated last month, I am ready for normalcy to return.
John (Florida)
About time. We've been mostly normal here in Florida for more than half a year. And now quite safe too for many of us who are vaccinated. Those who are still afraid, even after being vaccinated, don't have to go anywhere or can put 5 masks on.
Retired CFO (Pennington,NJ)
@John I am glad you are in Florida - I doubt I will ever return there. Some people like myself remain vulnerable - per Johns Hopkins - so we have no choice but to be cautious of unvaccinated people. So please don't be so quick to judge others. As always, kindness and consideration for others is the best way to go.
Crazy Me (NYC)
@John Florida's infection and mortality numbers stink. As of today Florida is first in hospitalizations and third in daily deaths. (And that doesn't count the knuckleheads who went down to spring break and brought the disease back home) so... I'd go a little slower with the - "About time," thing.
John Marshall (New York)
Might want to check your numbers. Florida has one of the highest case rates in the country. There were 33,000 cases in the last 7 days, or 156 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days. For comparison: CA: 13,000 or 32.5/100k TX: 21,000 or 71.7/100k NY: 13,000 or 121.9/100k GA: 9,000 or 85/100k AL: 2,000 or 40.2/100k MS: 1,400 or 47.5/100k Florida isn't doing too well, even by Republican standards.
Reasonable Person (Brooklyn NY)
The time is right. If you want a vaccine you can get one. Cases are way down. If you want to wait for herd immunity or 70% vaccination, you are going to be waiting a long time.
soleilame (New York)
@Reasonable Person Children are not eligible for vaccination, and won't be for many months.
Sarah (Arlington, VA)
@soleilame FYI: It was announced just today that the FDA is going to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children age 12-15. Studies of tests have proven that they are safe and will probably soon be allowed for very young kids as well.
Sebastian C (Forest Hills)
As someone who has been extremely cautious since March of last year (no eating out, only leaving home for essential reasons, actively avoiding crowded places, not using public transit), I thought I’d be more ambivalent toward reopening. But I have been fully vaccinated for over a month and dove headfirst back into the world when I went to dinner and a bar with a group of vaccinated friends last week. What a feeling! Any anxiety I had went away within minutes. Get vaccinated and start living again people. It’s not healthy to live in fear forever.
DJS (New York)
@Sebastian C Did you miss yesterday's coverage regarding the expectation that the U.S. will not reach herd immunity ,and that it is expected that vaccinated individuals will end up hospitalized and die of Covid-19 as a result ?
Cat (New York)
@Sebastian C Could it have been the drinks in the bar?? ;-)
Andy (NJ)
@DJS The risks have been reduced dramatically now with the vaccines. I like my odds far better now than last year. I'm ready to do most things again now, while exercising some caution. I'm ready!
NYC Taxpayer (East Shore, S.I.)
NYC reopening but most restaurants really can't operate at 100% capacity with 6-feet between tables. The 6-foot rule needs to be eliminated or relaxed down to 3-feet.
sp (ne)
@NYC Taxpayer So long as they create barriers between the tables, the 6 foot rule does not apply. So small restaurants will be able to operate at capacity in NYC
NYC Taxpayer (East Shore, S.I.)
@sp The barriers aren't cheap. Talk to a restaurant owner. Why is 6-feet such a sacred rule?
Cat (New York)
@sp expert today said the Lucite barriers are "theater". The virus can travel over and around.
Justin (Omaha)
People might be nervous about going out -- I know I wasn't totally ready when I got my vaccine a couple of months ago -- but eventually I hope they'll find the courage. I am just jealous that NY has Excelsior Pass. If I lived in NY, I'd want all restaurants/bars/theaters to use this and require vaccines before entering.
John (Florida)
@Justin Why? If you are vaccinated there is no danger to you from unvaccinated people. Even if by some chance you get infected, there is a 99.99% chance it will be mild and you will not go to the hospital. A better chance than what you might expect from getting a flu. Just look at the data. There is no reason to fearmonger and require vaccines to enter anything. Those who are not vaccinated are taking all the risk on themselves.
Laura (New York)
@John The vaccine is 90% effective. Not 100%. And we don't know how effective they are against the new variants. If we want cases to continue to plummet, vaccine passports are a must.
NYC Taxpayer (East Shore, S.I.)
@Justin The NYS Pass is a good idea except that bar/restaurant owners don't have the legal authority to require patrons to have or show the Pass. The law has to be changed to allow them to check your pass, in the same way that it's legal for a bar/liquor store owner to require proof of age.
Crazy Me (NYC)
OK - You asked a brick layer, a construction worker, a deli owner, a florist, some students, and a book store owner their opinions about the dangers of opening after a pandemic. I would take their advice about laying bricks, building buildings, serving pastrami, arranging flowers and choosing books but not about micro organisms or pandemics. It's science that matters and science doesn't care what we feel. Let the scientists do the science and then you can do a service by telling the rest of NYC what they have concluded and why. Then we can all make informed decisions. I'm vaccinated and am back out there going forward with no fear because I've read the data. Get shot my fellow NY'ers. It's safe and easy and will do you and yours a world of good.
Greg (Los Angeles)
@Crazy Me - To your point, science and the data thereof wasn't necessarily used as the primary determinant in the decision to reopen, or perhaps wasn't used at all except maybe present rates of reported infection, etc. We'll see....
Ken Victor (Brooklyn)
@Crazy Me So we should disregard the thoughts of a brick layer, a construction worker, a deli owner, a florist, some students, and a book store owner....but we should take the advice of an anonymous NYT commenter with the name "Crazy Me"? OK...Gotcha. Kidding aside, we are all in this together and the opinions of the aforementioned people matter as well in order for our city, country, planet to get this right. As much as we respect and take the lead from our medical/ scientific establishment: they didn't always get this right. It doesn't hurt to remain careful a little longer. Personally, I'm ok pulling my mask off outside but i'm going to keep it on indoors and i'm still going to try to avoid people who are not my family (and maybe a few friends). I'd like to see the daily infection rates/ deaths diminish a lot more before i start to feel much better about this
Jan (New York)
@Crazy Me Well I'm not quite sure exactly when you read the data, where you read the data or what your background in understanding the data is, but I would note that the CDC's latest recommendations still call for vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors, as well as outdoors if in crowded venues or areas. Which is likely driven by the fact that they have not yet concluded if vaccinated individuals are capable of spreading COVID-19. In other words, they claim that the data are not yet sufficient to draw a conclusion with the level of certainty that they require to make such statements. If you are vaccinated, the data show that you should not fear contracting the disease and having so severe a case as to require hospitalization. But the guidelines -- and our behaviors -- should also be driven by the risks that we present to others in our community. And if you're not swayed by the whole "caring about other people" argument, there's also a very cold and materialist argument to be made, as there's an economic cost associated with failing to keep infection rates under control, embodied in both medical costs and lost labor.
Ted B (UES)
In my neck of the woods near Prospect Park, most people seem to be vaccinated and ready to resume their lives. The joy on the weekends is palpable. Indoor dining is about the only remaining aspect of life that hasn't returned to normal yet.
DJS (New York)
@Ted B When did Prospect Park move near the UES ?
Cat (New York)
@Ted B Been to any concerts lately?
Judy (NYC)
Definitely have mixed feelings about this, but I don’t think we’re ever going to reach herd immunity and we can’t stay locked down indefinitely. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed while they let ‘er rip.
Rich (Connecticut)
@Judy I agree with your assessment.
George (San Rafael, CA)
I was surprised at how many people in this reporting remain hesitant to return to normal even when given the green light. I mean for the last 6 months the cable news complex has been showing us protests with flags waving everywhere that these public health restrictions were unconstitutional and infringing on their "liberty." I guess cable news -- once again -- distorted what many felt.
Jp (NJ)
The news was probably showing a different group of people than the ones who are hesitant to go back to normal life. I'd be amazed if the people protesting lock downs are skeptical about reopening.
Ken Victor (Brooklyn)
@George The people who were previously protesting against Covid related restrictions around the country were almost entirely right leaning deniers of the impact and dangers of the pandemic. This article is about hesitation/ skepticism among New Yorkers (and others in the tri-state area) who are generally left leaning and were accepting of the dangers of Covid. Cable news, depending on which networks you are referring to (i'm going to take a guess you mean CNN and MSNBC in this case) have many faults but have generally been accurate in their reporting of this.
Jan (New York)
@Jp They will only have changed their tune if a close friend or family member has since died from COVID-19. Sadly there seem to be many people -- especially among that crowd -- who are either incapable of empathy or unable to understand that they too are at risk. I'm pretty sure that more than one news article or news report has been devoted to interviewing some of these people who changed their views but only once the tragedy of the pandemic affected them directly.
dbll (Brooklyn)
Why is there no mention of the Excelsior Pass from either the city or state? It appears the digital infrastructure is there to verify that customers have been vaccinated. We need to get strict about requiring compliance to rules that will allow normal activities to resume. Seems straightforward: no shoes, no shirt, no vaccine, no service.
SPBronson (Florida)
@dbll It isn’t straightforward. An app can be used to track you all the time everywhere you go. You could be questioned or flagged as a questionable person based on who you say next to in the theatre.
Howard B (Brooklyn, NY)
Vaccinations are slowing, though supply is great. This is the state's way of saying "we are open for business, if you don't want the vaccine, you're on your own".
Crazy Me (NYC)
@Howard B And I wish them all luck. I'm even rooting for them, but under no conditions am I betting on them.
John (Florida)
@Howard B And that's how it should be. Everyone has an opportunity to get vaccinated now. If they don't, it's their own fault. There is no excuse not to get it.
B. (Brooklyn)
Do my insurance premiums have to go up when non-vaxxers contract Covid and go to hospital, and the hospital needs remuneration? It would be so much less expensive just to get a vaccine or two. Well, nothing's perfect.
See also