Message from Brian L. Harper M.D., M.P.H.
Dear New York Tech Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As of February 10, 2021, nearly 27 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 463,659 cumulative total deaths have been reported in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is about 18,000 more deaths nationwide since my message one week ago.

Despite supply and distribution challenges, at least 32 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with approximately 10 million (or roughly one out of every 33 citizens) fully vaccinated with two doses. Meanwhile, the number of sites providing the vaccine continues to grow.

In New York, in addition to large state-run sites at Jones Beach, Yankee Stadium, and the Jacob Javits Center, Governor Cuomo has provided for community-based “pop-up” vaccination sites, where approximately 30,000 New Yorkers have received their first dose of vaccine. The federal government recently approved vaccine distribution directly to federally qualified health centers, which are generally located in underserved and rural communities, in an effort to address some of the inequities in vaccine access. National chain pharmacies will be also obtaining vaccine from the federal government when supply is secured.

While NYITCOM’s health centers in New York have been approved by the state to distribute the vaccine, we have not yet received any doses. (In contrast, NYITCOM-Jonesboro is already playing a major role in the distribution of vaccine in that region.) Some other local colleges, including Nassau Community College and LIU-Post, have recently announced that they will be serving as vaccination sites, but are also awaiting delivery of vaccine.

Vaccination offers many personal advantages, while also reducing, in some instances, the need for quarantine. According to recent CDC guidance, there is no need for an individual who has received both doses of vaccine to be quarantined if they come in contact with someone who is infected—as long as the contact takes place after two weeks and within three months of receiving the second dose of vaccine.

Emerging variants still remain a concern, and the CDC is now tracking these variants in the U.S. To date, 34 states have found variants in submitted specimens. The U.K. variant is spreading most widely and has been found to be 50 percent more transmissible. It has also been reported that this variant has been found at six universities in the U.S.

Therefore, the New York Tech community must remain vigilant and avoid the spread of COVID-19 and any of its variants by continuing to adhere to community mitigation activities (wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and remaining at home if ill or symptomatic) to prevent new infections. In fact, I am pleased to have been part of a research team, led by NYITCOM’s Dr. Bhuma Krishnamachari, who recently published an article that reinforces the importance of wearing masks.

As always, New York Tech students, faculty, and staff are welcome to make an appointment for a COVID test at the Academic Health Care Center in Long Island by calling 516.686.1300. Those who may continue to feel anxious or uneasy may 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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