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

As of June 3, more than 33 million cases of COVID-19 and 592,000 cumulative total deaths have been reported in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the start of the pandemic. Over the past seven-day period, Washington reported the highest number of cases per 100,000 (86.2), and California reported the least (8.5).

Vaccination Updates and New York Tech Survey

The COVID vaccine rollout continues, with over 296 million doses administered in the U.S. To date, 50.8 percent have received at least one dose, and 41 percent are now fully vaccinated. In New York State, 53.8 percent have received at least one dose, and 46.1 percent are fully vaccinated. The testing positivity rate in New York State on May 31 remained extremely low, at 0.77 percent.

As part of President Biden's plan to have 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by July 4, a variety of creative incentives are being offered, ranging from free donuts, beer, and taxi rides to MLB baseball and NFL football tickets, gift cards, sweepstakes, and lottery entries. New York City has a website dedicated to vaccine incentives that include access to museums, botanical gardens, Lincoln Center, and other cultural sites.

COVID vaccines in use within the U.S. received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Two manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, have applied for full approval from the FDA, which requires vaccine manufacturers to submit data on manufacturing processes, facilities, and information that demonstrates that the vaccine can be produced reliably and consistently. They are also required to submit all pre-clinical and clinical trial data. The FDA will review and take action within six to 10 months. This timing may have policy impacts as many colleges are awaiting full FDA approval before implementing vaccination mandates.
To help us plan for a return to normalcy on campus, New York Tech is conducting a brief anonymous survey of students, staff, and faculty regarding their vaccination status. If you have not done so, please complete the survey by June 10.
Variants and Global Concerns

The CDC continues to monitor variants, with B.1.1.7 (U.K. variant) remaining the predominant variant nationwide. It represents as much as 85.3 percent of the variants in Tennessee (the state with the highest percentage of B.1.1.7) and increased to 53.8 percent in New York this week.

From a global perspective, India is still the area of greatest concern. New cases have started to decrease from a high of 403,405 per day on May 8 to 134,154 new cases on June 2, according to John Hopkins University data. Sadly, there have been more than 338,000 deaths.

It is clear that all the national efforts (community mitigation, testing, early diagnosis and contact tracing, quarantine/isolation, vaccinations, and timely clinical care) have resulted in dramatic improvement over time, and we should continue to behave in ways that reduce the spread of the virus.

As always, the New York Tech community is welcome to make an appointment for a COVID test or vaccination at the Academic Health Care Center in Long Island by calling 516.686.1300. Those who may continue to 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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