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Who Gets the Vaccine Next?

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It’s Monday. We’ll be off Thursday through Jan. 3. Happy holidays!

Weather: Patchy fog in the morning, turning partly cloudy this afternoon with a high in the upper 30s. A chance of snow showers tonight.

Alternate-side parking: Suspended through Saturday for snow removal. Parking meters will remain in effect.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has called the onset of coronavirus vaccinations the light at the end of the tunnel.

The rollout, which began last week, is slow, but picking up steam. As of Friday, some 19,000 New Yorkers had received the vaccine, Mr. Cuomo said. The effort should continue to ramp up, particularly after a shipment of 346,000 doses made by Moderna arrives this week.

But a thorny question has emerged: Outside of some high-priority groups, how will the state decide who gets vaccinated next?

Companies, unions and trade groups are making pitches to the state and to the public that their workers should be prioritized.

[A state official described the next stage of vaccine prioritization as “the big fight.”]

The first vaccinations in the state are taking place amid a statewide surge in cases and hospitalizations. Mr. Cuomo said on Sunday that 6,185 people were hospitalized statewide, a number comparable to the total in May.

New York City on Sunday reported that the seven-day average rate of positive test results was 6.25 percent. Between late June and October, that number did not cross 2 percent, according to city data.

Phase 1 in New York will target frontline health care works and those living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities where a disproportionate share of deaths have occurred.

Mr. Cuomo said that vaccinations in nursing homes are set to begin today.

An advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made new recommendations on Sunday for who should be prioritized next: “frontline essential workers” like emergency responders, teachers and grocery store employees, and people 75 and older. The next priority group would include other essential workers, such as those with jobs in restaurants, construction and law.

States, however, have final say in how to distribute vaccines, and an urgent lobbying effort is now underway in New York.

The chief executive of Uber wrote to Mr. Cuomo last week to ask that its drivers be prioritized in the next round of vaccinations. Rich Maroko, president of the Hotel Trades Council, wrote a letter to state health officials advocating for the 35,000 hotel employees the union represents in New York City.


The Times’s Hannah Wise writes:

There is no way of getting around it: 2020 has been a challenging, and for many, a terrible year.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 1.3 million people around the world. Millions more have lost their jobs, and governments have offered uneven support. In the United States, a reckoning with race and discrimination poured into the streets during the summer, and its effects have rippled into the fall. The country’s presidential election saw record-breaking turnout but led to a debate over the very essence of its democratic process.

Yet even in this dark year, there have been moments of lightness, growth and utter joy. In our isolation we have had time to reflect and find inner strength. We learned new hobbies. We took leaps into the unknown. Some of us even fell in love.

As we enter what will most likely be a difficult end of the year for many, let’s remember those moments and find strength and resiliency in those memories.

We’re asking you to look back through your camera roll and share with us a photo or video that captures one of the most positive moments from this year. It can be one that is particularly memorable, or a quiet moment that resonates with you more now. Maybe it was the sight of a loved one at a distance after a long isolation, your first pandemic sourdough loaf or a life change made for the better.

Along with the photo or video, include a brief written reflection on what that moment means to you now in this form.

It’s Monday — keep going.


Dear Diary:

A dark blue star balloon —
a king might call it royal blue —
hovers over Avenue U,
then, loosed from its string,
rises six flights up between
apartment buildings,
and coasts away on the ocean breeze
to grace gray skies over Brighton Beach
and anyone with eyes to see.

— Tom Furlong


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