COVID-19 Reports on Cases and Vaccine Rollout: February 1–5

February 1, 2021

January 29, 2021. Gov. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update from the Red Room at the State Capitol. Photo: Mike Groll

THIRTEEN and PBS offer regular, in-depth reporting on the coronavirus pandemic’s COVID-19 cases and the vaccine rollout and distribution, as well as repercussions on employment, social services, the economy and politics. Here is the most recent information from infectious disease doctors and medical professionals, government officials, and journalists who cover news about COVID-19 and its impacts. This page will be updated as reporting continues.

Recent COVID News and Numbers

Click for National, State, and City Hotlines and Resources

On February 2, Governor Cuomo announced that the federal supply of vaccines to New York will increase for the next three weeks. Private pharmacies that are charged with prioritizing the 65-plus population will now receive an additional 10 percent, or about 30,000 doses, directly from the federal government to supplement the doses allocated to them by the state. Given the increase to the state’s supply, the Governor is granting localities the flexibility to add restaurant workers, taxi drivers, and developmentally disabled facilities to the 1B vaccine prioritization group.

On Sunday, the governor announced that New York’s State’s 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has declined for 23 straight days. The rate is on Monday is 4.86%, up from 4.44% on Sunday. If rates continue as they are in New York City, indoor dining can resume at 25% capacity on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

Currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccine are the groups Phase 1A (health care workers) and Phase 1B: people 65 and older, first responders, corrections officers, teachers and school staff; in-person college instructors, childcare workers, public-facing grocery store workers, transit workers and people who live and work in homeless shelters.

We’re offering updates via email or mobile on the coronavirus now through the duration of the pandemic. Sign up for email alerts here, or text UPDATES to 30644 for mobile notifications.

PBS NewsHour Reports

PBS NewsHour is broadcast weeknights at 7 p.m. and weekends at 6 p.m. and streams live. Listen to half-hour broadcasts on 88.3 WLIW-FM weeknights at 6 p.m.

February 3: What Impact is “The COVID slide” Having on Students?

The questions around when to re-open more schools for in-person classes remains front and center for millions of Americans. Data show about 42 percent of all students between kindergarten and high school are in virtual-only schooling right now. Christopher Morphew, dean of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

February 2: How Effective Will Vaccines Be in the Months to Come?

As concerns continue to grow about coronavirus variants in the U.S. and globally, the British authorities on Tuesday said they believe a version of the U.K. variant may stunt the effect of some vaccines. Paul Turner, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the Yale School of Medicine and a specialist on how genes mutate, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the efficacy of vaccines.

February 1: Biden Looks to Ramp Up Economic Relief from the Pandemic

Negotiations over new action to stimulate the economy are moving into higher gear Monday. After releasing a $1.9 trillion aid plan last month, President Biden held a first meeting with Senate Republicans who are pushing an alternative plan. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.

January 29: Fauci on the Efficacy of New Vaccines

The drive to get more coronavirus vaccines into more arms is gaining momentum, with two new COVID vaccines possibly accelerating the effort. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH and a top adviser to President Biden on the pandemic, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the efficacy of the new vaccines and preparing for the virus variants.

Amanpour and Company

Amanpour and Company

Left to right: Walter Isaacson, Michel Martin, Christiane Amanpour, Hari Sreenivasan

Amanpour and Company airs Monday – Friday at 11 p.m.; repeats at 4 p.m. Watch broadcast or livestream.

February 3: Reactions to a New Study of the AstraZeneca Vaccine

A new study by Oxford University shows that not only does their AstraZeneca vaccine prevent serious illness, but it also slows down transmission of the virus. It’s much needed good news, with vaccine rollout in a race with the virus itself, particularly with variants and disinformation spreading like wildfire. To discuss, Christiane Amanpour speaks with renowned medical researcher Dr. Helen Rees and journalist Tim Harford, who has been tracking the vaccine rollout closely.

January 25: How Earlier COVID Diagnosis and Treatment Saves Lives

Two ER doctors on the front line join Hari Sreenivasan to explain how more lives can be saved through earlier diagnosis. Watch the 18-minute discussion with Dr. Nicholas Caputo in New York and Dr. Richard Levitan in New Hampshire.

MetroFocus Interviews

MetroFocus hosts Rafael Pi Roman, Jenna Flanagan and Jack Ford.

MetroFocus hosts Rafael Pi Roman, Jenna Flanagan and Jack Ford.

MetroFocus airs weeknights at 6 p.m. (see schedule for late-night and weekends) and livestreams; listen weeknights on 88.3 WLIW-FM at 11 p.m..

February 4: Blacks and Latinos Cautious About the Vaccine

New York City Council Member, and 2021 Democratic candidate for Bronx Borough President, Vanessa Gibson joins us to discuss what she’s doing to ensure Black and Latino communities are not frozen out of the vaccine distribution process.

February 3: COVID and Long Island

Tonight, MetroFocus is one-on-on with Nassau County executive Laura Curran as she shares the difficulties of balancing the needs of the people with preventing the spread of the disease and shares her personal experience of life in quarantine after she herself was exposed to the coronavirus.

NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi

NJ Spotlight News provides daily reporting on the coronavirus in New Jersey, as well as newsletters.

On February 1, healthcare reporter Lilo Stainton shared highlights of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli’s and other’s comments in the NJ Spotlight News roundtable on the vaccine.

February 5: Doctor on J&J One-Dose COVID Vaccine and FDA Authorization

Dr. Martin Blaser discusses Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine and getting emergency use authorization from the FDA. Once approved, J&J could start sending out vaccines within four weeks, and without the need for ultra-cold storage.

February 4: Doctor on the Risks of Relaxing Indoor Dining Restrictions

While restaurants and other businesses are happy with the easing of restrictions, medical experts are wary.

February 3: Vaccination Priority Urged for NJ Essential Workers

Labor advocates say public transit staff, grocery store clerks, warehouse workers and other essential workers who perform vital jobs and keep the economy moving deserve to be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

February 1: Expert Suggest COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Combat UK Strain

Health experts say NJ must pick up the pace of vaccinations, and prioritize the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people over the age of 65 in order to stop the highly-infectious UK strain from spreading quickly.

January 29: Critics Say COVID-19 Vaccination System Unfair to Seniors

Critics say New Jersey’s patchwork system for scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations needs a serious upgrade to make it more fair. Folks without internet access still struggle to get scheduled for shots.

GZERO WORLD with Ian Bremmer

February 5: The Race to Vaccinate

Atul Gawande of the Biden/Harris COVID-19 transition task force joins the show to discuss the latest on the race to vaccinate the country before contagious coronavirus mutations take hold.

Hotlines and Information

Stay-in-the-know about what’s on-air and online at THIRTEEN. Sign-up for free weekly eNewsletters, including on coronavirus reports.

Government Sites and Resources

National: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) page includes links to national case reporting, symptom information, advisories by health condition and occupation, and more.

New York City

COVID-19 Cases

The Bronx’s positivity rate is 6.57 percent, followed by Queens at 5.21 percent, Brooklyn at 5.17 percent, Staten Island at 4.65 percent, and Manhattan at 3.06 percent (7-day rolling averages). Later this week, Yankee Stadium will open as a mass vaccination site specifically and exclusively for Bronx residents who are 65 or older or in other eligible groups.

Vaccine Distribution

Eligible New Yorkers can make their vaccine appointments using the City’s Vaccine Finder, which aggregates all vaccination locations open to the eligible public into a single, accessible five-borough network, including city-run sites and private providers.  Those eligible can also call for an appointment at 877-VAX-4NYC 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. See the NYC vaccine information page for city guidelines.

Healthcare workers in Phase 1A group and city workers and those 65 years and older in Phase 1B group can make appointments now. See what groups fall into Phase 1A and 1B groups.

The City’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity has expanded its Vaccine for All effort to 33 neighborhoods – now including Williamsbridge and Baychester, Midwood, Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst, Kew Gardens and Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and South Ozone, and Queens Village. The task force also released demographic information of vaccine recipients.

So-called “mega sites” for vaccinations require advance registration/appointments through the city Vaccine Finder:

The Bathgate Contract Postal Station in the Claremont section of the Bronx
The Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park
25 Worth Street in Manhattan
Vanderbilt Gotham Health Center in Staten Island
The DOHMH clinic in Corona, Queens

Those 65 and older who are New York City residents can make an appointment for Fort Washington Armory in Upper Manhattan, operated with by the state and NewYork-Presbyterian. The site became exclusive to city residents after criticism that it was underserving the majority Spanish-speaking population in the neighborhood. Read more and see how to schedule an appointment in the NewYork-Presbyterian statement.

Seniors 65 and Over
People age 65 or older are part of Phase IB group, and those who need transportation to and from vaccination appointments can sign up for free transport through the city, which will be provided by Access-a-Ride, ambulette services, cab service via Curb, and in a few weeks, transportation by select Senior Center programs.

Clinics for resident seniors at NYCHA housing locations will expand and now include: Van Dyke I & II Houses in Brooklyn, Cassidy Lafayette Houses in Staten Island, and Polo Grounds Towers in Manhattan.

COVID Testing

COVID Express sites offer free rapid COVID-19 virus PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, by scheduled appointment. Learn more on

NYC tracks positive COVID-19 cases by zip code; you can review a map reflecting cases in the past seven days.

NYC’s official COVID-19 site with information on testing, resources (including rent and housing and more), and announcements:

For text updates from New York City, text COVID to 692-692. You will receive regular SMS texts with helpful behavior tips and news related to the coronavirus. Text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.

Work and Assistance

Employers and employees can visit or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for labor law information and more.

The state has a web application to help struggling New Yorkers locate benefits they may qualify for. “Find Services” is an easy starting point for first-time users of social programs that relate to unemployment, food insecurity, and housing, among other services.

New York City Public Schools and Learning

Create a NYC Schools Account to sign up for Department of Education notifications and track your child’s education.

For free homework help from a teacher, K-12 students and their parents or caregivers can call 212-777-3380 or visit the Dial-A-Teacher website Mondays through Thursdays 4–7 p.m.

New York State

NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065
For all New York State updates and announcements from Governor Andrew Cuomo, see the state COVID site.

Vaccine Distribution

To confirm eligibility and see list of vaccine providers closest to you, see this New York State site.

Those eligible can call the New York State COVID vaccine scheduling hotline; calls are accepted 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., though lines may be busy and hold times lengthy: 833-697-4829.

The state documents its vaccination distribution through a vaccine tracker that includes first and second doses given.

State-run mass vaccination sites at SUNY Stony Brook, Jones Beach, Aqueduct Racetrack, the Javits Center and the Westchester County Center will be closed Tuesday, February 2 due to the snow. State-run COVID-19 vaccination sites  (appointments required through include, among others:

  • Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York City
  • Westchester County Convention Center (Westchester County)
  • Jones Beach drive-thru vaccination site (Nassau County) on Long Island
  • SUNY Stony Brook  (Suffolk County) on Long Island
  • The Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York City

See other community pop-up sites in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, on the New York State site.

Six pop-up vaccination sites planned for February 1 in the Bronx and Brooklyn are rescheduled for Wednesday, February 3, due to the snow emergency. This includes the sites at the Bartow Community Center, the Bronx River Addition, the Latino Pastoral Action Center and the Edenwald Houses in the Bronx, as well as the sites planned for Cornerstone Baptist Church and God’s Battalion of Prayer Church in Brooklyn. New York State’s partner at these sites, SOMOS Community Care, manages scheduling for those sites.

Micro-Cluster Hot Spots

Look up an address to see if it is in a New York COVID-19 color-coded Hot Spot Zone with restrictions. There are currently several micro-clusters within 75 miles of New York City. Maps of the cluster zones can be found here.

The places and activities regulated are non-essential gatherings, businesses, dining, and schools. See the New York State site for details on how cluster zones are identified and implemented.

Governor Cuomo’s weekday coronavirus updates focus on hospital and ICU bed availability in New York State’s regions, based on seven-day averages. See the status of regions on

COVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. You will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Learn more about how it works and download it to your mobile phone.

The New York State Department of Health posts a daily COVID-19 tracker case tally by county.

New Jersey

NJ State COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-962-1253
NJ State Vaccine Hotline: 1-855-568-0545
Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive text updates.

The State of New Jersey coronavirus hub is

Vaccine Distribution

Unlike the New York vaccination program, New Jersey residents age 16-64 who have medical conditions recognized by the CDC to increase the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.

Pre-register for a COVID-19 vaccine and learn more about the vaccine distribution in New Jersey on the official state vaccine hub. The telephone hotline to make an appointment is 855-568-0545.

The State offers answers to more FAQs as well as outlines policies for health care providers on this COVID-19 vaccine page from the health department.

Remote Learning Resources from WNET Education

To better serve families during the COVID-19 pandemic, The WNET Group offers At Home Learning educational programming.

Let’s Learn weekday lessons led by NYC DOE educators for grades 3K- 2 are broadcast at 11 a.m. on THIRTEEN and 9 a.m. on WLIW21, followed on WLIW21 by a NJTV Learning Live lesson for 3rd graders at 10 a.m., 4th graders at 11 a.m., and 5th graders at 12 p.m.

Broadcast schedules on WLIW21, WLIW World and PBS Kids were developed to help schools and districts bridge the digital divide and provide equitable access to learning for all students at home, regardless of access to the internet or computers.

Help keep students learning at home with tools for parents and educators on WNET’s Education site. All resources are free and standards-aligned.