BUFFALO – New York State is launching a new hotline to report COVID-19 vaccination abuse or fraud.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the news during a press briefing on Monday afternoon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
Cuomo says those with tips about fraudulent vaccine distribution should call (833) VAX-SCAM.
“Everyone wants it,” Cuomo said. “But beware of fraudsters.”
Throughout the briefing, Cuomo echoed many points he has made in recent weeks and months. He introduced three priorities he’d previewed in recent State of the State and budget addresses:
- Control the COVID spread
- Vaccinate New Yorkers
- Rebuild the economy
The governor says that the current situation is unsustainable; however, there is hope.
“The good news is the number is down, and it has been continuing to decline,” Cuomo said. “You see this is true all across the state.”
Cuomo says that the increase in hospitalizations is slowing down.
The governor also highlighted an obscure metric — the rate of transmission — which appears to be down statewide.
This number represents how many people one infected person can transmit coronavirus to.
“At our high point, one person was infecting 2.5 other people,” Cuomo says.
Officials have told him that a rate of transmission below 1 is ideal.
“That’s where we are right now,” the governor furthered, “but it’s been a bumpy ride to get us here.”
Cuomo explains that when metrics like these lower, “then you can increase economic activity.”
He says that within the next few days — perhaps as soon as Wednesday — the state would adjust measures, loosen restrictions, and reopen sectors of the economy.
Experts tell him that the downward trend is likely to continue and that the predicted “holiday spike” has probably passed.
Cuomo says this means that “we can start to adjust that valve,” and that the states’ many micro cluster zones will be reevaluated.
Even so, the governor warned that the virus has been ahead of the response every step of the way, and that now is no time to succumb to COVID fatigue.
“This beast changes on us all the time,” he warned, talking about different messaging about different COVID variants. “The numbers look good today, but we have been down this road before, and the road has curves and the road has potholes.”
With 250,000 doses allocated to New York per week, and over 1.5 million vaccinations completed so far, Cuomo says that over 91% of first doses received by the state have been administered.
“We get a weekly allocation from the federal government,” he said. “That means we have used 91% of the vaccine that we have received to date.”