Brian Harper
Dear New York Tech Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As of October 1, 2021, more than 43.2 million cases of COVID-19 and 694,701 cumulative total deaths have been reported in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the start of the pandemic. Nationally, new cases are down by 11 percent from last week, with a seven-day average of 112,061 per day, and new deaths are down by five percent, with a seven-day average of 1,896 per day, as reported by John Hopkins University. Over the past seven-day period, the state reporting the highest number of cases per 100,000 people is Alaska (1,161.5), with California reporting the least (72.9). For comparison, New York State has 216.1 cases per 100,000 people and New York City has 125.4 per 100,000 people.

The vaccine rollout continues, with more than 392 million doses administered in the U.S. As of yesterday, 64.6 percent of the nation’s population has received at least one dose, and 55.6 percent is now fully vaccinated. In New York State, the CDC reports that 71.2 percent has received at least one dose and 63.6 percent is fully vaccinated (as of September 22, 2021).

There have been ongoing concerns regarding whether COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for pregnant women and those interested in having children. Based on a review of the current data, the CDC has issued a new recommendation and is now taking urgent action to increase vaccination among people who are pregnant, lactating, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Accordingly, the CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks.

As of September 27, 2021, more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in pregnant individuals, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 161 deaths. The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month was 22, reported in August 2021. Recent data from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network indicates that approximately 97 percent of pregnant people hospitalized with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, who were admitted either for illness or labor and delivery, were unvaccinated. In addition to the risks of severe illness and death among pregnant individuals, there is an increased risk of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including pre-term birth and admission of their neonate(s) to an intensive care unit.

In addition, a new COVID-19 treatment is on the horizon. As part of a phase 3 clinical study, the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Inc. has shared that 7.3 percent of patients who received its drug Molnupiravir were hospitalized through day 29, compared to 14.1 percent of placebo-treated patients who were hospitalized or died. Therefore, the company plans to seek Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible. If authorized, Molnupiravir could become the first oral COVID-19 antiviral medicine.

The CDC continues to monitor variants of SARS Cov-2. The Delta variant is now, by far, the most dominant variant in all states being monitored, ranging from a low of 93.2 percent of the variants in Alabama to a high of 100 percent of the variants in Vermont. In New York State, the Delta variant accounts for 97.7 percent of all variants and represents 96.9 percent of variants in Arkansas.

As a reminder, all New York Tech students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated by October 22, 2021. Please find more information about our vaccination and testing policies and how to upload proof of vaccination here. It is important to upload your proof of vaccination so that we have a record for our Health app database!

For the New York Tech community, we continue to have occasional breakthrough cases (a COVID-19 case that occurs in someone who is fully vaccinated). Therefore, it is still important for employees and students to wear their masks on campus and remain at home when ill, as vaccinated individuals can still carry the virus. In an effort not to put others at risk, please stay home if you have any flu-like symptoms.

As always, those who may feel anxious or uneasy can reach out to Counseling and Wellness Services at our campuses in Long Island (516.686.7683) or New York City (212.261.1773) to talk or make a virtual appointment.


Brian L. Harper M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Officer, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine
Vice President, Equity and Inclusion

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