ALBANY — COVID-19 continued its rebound in New York state Tuesday, with the highest single-day death toll since June.
Among the dead was a Schenectady County resident in his 30s, according to the Schenectady County Department of Health.
Only one other person in their 30s is known to have died of COVID in Schenectady County. The total death toll in the county now stands at 59, all but four of them age 60 or older.
The age divide is even greater at the state level — only 346 people known to have died after contracting COVID have been in their 30s, or 1.3 percent of the total.
Statewide, with 66 new deaths reported Tuesday, the official COVID death toll stands at 26,816.
Also Tuesday, Albany County reported two new COVID-related deaths, both women in their 90s who lived in group settings, and Rensselaer County reported an 88-year-old man living at a Troy nursing home had died.
Albany County reported seven COVID deaths over the weekend, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties one each.
Across the Capital Region on Tuesday, 199 people were hospitalized with COVID, nearly reaching the one-day peak of 205 reached on April 10. The region recorded a 4.7 percent positive test rate with 392 new infections detected.
The seven-day rolling positive test rate for counties in the Greater Capital Region and the number of new infections reported Tuesday:
- Albany County — 4.4% — 152
- Fulton County — 2.7% — 10
- Montgomery County — 4.0% — 16
- Rensselaer County — 2.4% — 49
- Saratoga County — 3.7% — 77
- Schenectady County — 4.4% — 74
- Schoharie County — 3.8% — 11
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday predicted a rough six weeks ahead.
Statewide, 3,774 people were hospitalized, an 848 percent increase from Sept. 1.
The state’s seven-day rolling average positive test rate — a better metric than single-day totals for gauging the situation — hit 4.0 percent Tuesday. It has held steady or increased every day since it was 1.2 percent on Oct. 22.
The holiday season will cause an acceleration of transmission of the virus, the governor predicted, because people will crowd together for various celebrations — indoors because of the weather.
“The COVID Grinch seizes the opportunity of the holiday season for increased viral transmission rate. The COVID Grinch is an opportunist,” Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.
It seems apparent that effective vaccines will be ready soon for mass use, he said, but they won’t end the pandemic until a large enough percentage of the population is vaccinated that community spread of the virus halts. Experts say that may not come until summer, even late summer, he said.
Part of the reason, said the governor who raised such great alarm over the pre-election political motives of President Trump’s CDC and FDA, is that so many Americans don’t trust the CDC and FDA and therefore may refuse to receive a vaccine the government is promoting.
In the wake of Trump losing the popular vote for re-election, Cuomo has tempered his political criticism, but remains adamant about how he thinks the federal government should handle mass vaccination. He repeated his top points Tuesday:
- Give states money to do the mass vaccination.
- Mount a massive education campaign to overcome Americans’ doubts about the vaccine and about receiving it.
- Reach out to minority communities to overcome their distrust and to provide access to the vaccine in places that have had disproportionately low access to health care and disproportionately high COVID infection and mortality rates.
- Don’t require vaccine recipients to provide identifying data because that will intimidate undocumented immigrants, and if the undocumented community isn’t vaccinated, the efficacy of the vaccine for public health is undercut for everyone.