New York advances further recovery from COVID-19

New York State, once hit hard by COVID-19, is implementing more measures to further open up from the pandemic in a bid to bring back more normalcy to New Yorkers.

Starting from early Monday morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York resumed its 24-hour subway services as daily ridership saw a continuous rise in the last few months.

The 24/7 subway service has practical benefits for thousands of New Yorkers who rely on it to get around in the late night hours and “the transit system is really a mirror of the city’s vitality,” said Sarah Feinberg, interim president of NYC Transit on Monday.

The daily ridership with New York’s subway system surpassed 2.2 million after topping 1.9 million on March 12 and 2 million on April 9, respectively. Still, there is big room to reach an average daily ridership of 5.4 million prior to the pandemic.

The MTA halted its overnight subway service on May 6, 2020 so as to thoroughly clean the trains amid the surging pandemic.

Meanwhile, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that the state would start to adopt the new mask guidelines by U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday with some exceptions.

“Individual private venues still have the ability to add additional guidelines to the state guidelines and the CDC guidelines. But, for our part, we’re adopting the CDC and we’re saying let’s open,” said Cuomo.

The U.S. CDC unveiled new guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans at the end of April, allowing fully vaccinated people to participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a face covering.

Cuomo also announced that New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will have fully vaccinated sections for 2021 NBA home playoff games and New York City would hold its 50th marathon race on Nov. 7 with 60 percent capacity.

The marathon race, which usually has 33,000 runners, was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

This marathon race is being planned with COVID-19 health guidelines which are subject to change as the public health conditions change and registration is expected to open on June 8, according to Cuomo.

Moreover, Tribeca Festival, a prime cultural event in New York City, will feature Radio City Music Hall reopening at 100 percent capacity for the festival’s closing night on Jun. 19.

As of Monday, 61.8 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 and older had received at least one vaccine dose and 41.8 percent of all New Yorkers had been fully vaccinated, according to Cuomo.

Meanwhile, the death toll from COVID-19 statewide reached 52,989, the second worst in the country following the state of California with 62,699 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.