Washington Post: Andrew Cuomo declared the pandemic a ‘no-politics zone.’ Behind the scenes, he worked to burnish his own standing.

Washington Post: Andrew Cuomo declared the pandemic a ‘no-politics zone.’ Behind the scenes, he worked to burnish his own standing.. “The New York governor, in his third term, rose to stardom last spring with his fierce denunciations of Trump, his no-nonsense approach at his news briefings and his occasional criticisms of other politicians who were not following public health guidance. He was embraced as a liberal hero and regularly railed against political interference by others in the response to the pandemic, holding up New York as a beacon of medical light during a time of national darkness…. In recent weeks, that record has been shadowed by allegations that his administration withheld the number of deaths in nursing homes linked to the coronavirus — a matter now under federal investigation — and revelations that Cuomo’s family members benefited from preferential coronavirus testing.”

AP: Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states

Associated Press: Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states. “New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000.”

State of New York: Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Launch of “Roll Up Your Sleeve” Campaign and Encourages New Yorkers Age 16-Plus Who Are Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine Tuesday, April 6 to Schedule an Appointment

State of New York: Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Launch of “Roll Up Your Sleeve” Campaign and Encourages New Yorkers Age 16-Plus Who Are Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine Tuesday, April 6 to Schedule an Appointment. “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of the statewide “Roll Up Your Sleeve” ad campaign to encourage all New Yorkers, especially those from neighborhoods where COVID was most devastating, to get vaccinated. The ads will be shown on television and online statewide beginning April 7. The ads were directed by Contagion screenplay writer Scott Burns, and shot at New York City’s Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. This effort comes as universal eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine goes into effect and all New Yorkers 16-years-of-age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 6.”

Washington Post: New accounts detail how New York health officials were told to prioritize coronavirus testing of people connected to Andrew Cuomo

Washington Post: New accounts detail how New York health officials were told to prioritize coronavirus testing of people connected to Andrew Cuomo. “New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s relatives and other well-connected New Yorkers were among those given preferential treatment at state coronavirus testing centers. State troopers were on standby to rush their samples to a lab to be expedited. And those with priority status got results within hours or a day compared to a wait of up to a week that other New Yorkers faced at the time. Seven individuals with firsthand knowledge of testing practices said that some people with access to power were able to largely bypass the overburdened resources available to the general public when the pandemic first gripped New York last year.”

AP: Virus fight stalls in early hot spots New York, New Jersey

AP: Virus fight stalls in early hot spots New York, New Jersey. “A year after becoming a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, New York and New Jersey are back atop the list of U.S. states with the highest rates of infection. Even as the vaccination campaign has ramped up, the number of new infections in New Jersey has crept up by 37% in a little more than a month, to about 23,600 every seven days. About 54,600 people in New York tested positive for the virus in the last week, a number that has begun to inch up recently.”

Gothamist: Why COVID-19 Is Surging In New Jersey But Flat In New York

Gothamist: Why COVID-19 Is Surging In New Jersey But Flat In New York. “The difference may be due to vaccine disparities. About 14% of the state’s 8.8 million residents have been fully vaccinated in New Jersey, and more than 3.6 million doses have been administered. But Black and Latino residents in the state are getting inoculated at much lower rates—5% and 7%, respectively—compared to white residents. Latinos make up about 21% of the population and Black residents about 15%.”

Times-Union: Top health officials told to prioritize COVID testing for Cuomo’s relatives

Times-Union: Top health officials told to prioritize COVID testing for Cuomo’s relatives. “High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

New York Times: Mixed Virus Data Has Some Experts Questioning Pace of N.Y.C. Reopening

New York Times: Mixed Virus Data Has Some Experts Questioning Pace of N.Y.C. Reopening. “Daily coronavirus cases reported in the city and state appear to have reached a plateau after a post-holiday spike, death rates and hospitalization rates related to the virus are on the decline, and more people are receiving the vaccine. But not everyone agrees that reopening is safe, partly because the presence of variants that are more contagious, and possibly deadlier, complicate the short-term outlook.”

New York Times: F.B.I. Investigating Whether Cuomo Aides Gave False Data on Nursing Homes

New York Times: F.B.I. Investigating Whether Cuomo Aides Gave False Data on Nursing Homes. “A federal investigation into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic has focused in recent weeks on whether the governor and his senior aides provided false data on resident deaths to the Justice Department, according to four people with knowledge of the investigation.”

Washington Post: How Cuomo put a political loyalist in charge of New York’s vaccine rollout

Washington Post: How Cuomo put a political loyalist in charge of New York’s vaccine rollout. “Around midnight on March 4, county officials across New York received a startling email threat from Larry Schwartz, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s volunteer vaccine czar. Their counties had kept more than 250 doses of vaccines on hand for more than a week, Schwartz claimed, and if they did not begin administering them, they could face penalties of $100,000 a day — and even lose access to more inoculations.”

New York Times: New York will expand the opening of sports and arts venues for baseball season, the governor says.

New York Times: New York will expand the opening of sports and arts venues for baseball season, the governor says.. “New York will allow sports and performing arts venues that seat more than 2,500 people outdoors to open at limited capacity starting on April 1, just in time for the Yankees’ first home game of the season, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Thursday. The state will also allow indoor venues that seat more than 1,500 people to open at 10 percent capacity.”

Washington Post: New York’s vaccine czar called county officials to gauge their loyalty to Cuomo amid sexual harassment investigation

Washington Post: New York’s vaccine czar called county officials to gauge their loyalty to Cuomo amid sexual harassment investigation. “New York’s ‘vaccine czar’ — a longtime adviser to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — phoned county officials in the past two weeks in attempts to gauge their loyalty to the embattled governor amid an ongoing sexual harassment investigation, according to multiple officials. One Democratic county executive was so unsettled by the outreach from Larry Schwartz, head of the state’s vaccine rollout, that the executive on Friday filed notice of an impending ethics complaint with the public integrity unit of the state attorney general’s office, the official told The Washington Post. The executive feared the county’s vaccine supply could suffer if Schwartz was not pleased with the executive’s response to his questions about support of the governor.”