NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday cheered New York City's vaccination numbers as he announced 6 million residents have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the mayor, 84% of adults have gotten at least one dose and 65% are fully vaccinated.
"That changes the entire dynamic," de Blasio said at his daily briefing. "We're so close to where we need to get. We have more work to do, COVID is not leaving us immediately, we've got real work to do to finish this mission. Everyone can be a part of it, but we can get there."
His goal before his term ends is to get even more shots in arms and he predicts that it'll be sometime in 2022 when COVID will become more manageable, like the flu.
"The COVID era can and will end and I think it's going to be during the year 2022 that we can turn the page as a city," de Blasio said. "It's a real issue, it's a real threat, and we gotta deal with it, but it's something we deal with on a manageable way, not something that dominates our life the way COVID has."
Despite his bold prediction, the mayor continued to strike a cautiously optimistic tone.
“Let's be careful on 'mission accomplished' until we are a hundred percent sure,” he said. “I want to consolidate those gains in 2021, handoff to my successor, and then I think 2022 becomes the year that we can finally put COVID in our past.”
The mayor and health officials are crediting the vaccine with driving down hospitalization numbers in New York City, which are the lowest they've been since the early days of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, the COVID hospitalization rate was at .69 per 100,000 city residents.
"We currently have about 70 patients with COVID in the hospital and about 16 of them are in the intensive care unit. At the peak we had 3,700 patients in the hospital with COVID and we have 916 in the ICU," Dr. Mitch Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, said.
With vaccine approval on the horizon for 5 to 11 year olds, the mayor once again said he is still not ready to mandate the shot for all schoolkids.
"Our priority is having kids in school," de Blasio said.
He wants all students in school and doesn't want to give parents a reason to hold kids out of school if they don't wish to comply with a would-be mandate.