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

As of September 17, 2021, more than 41.5 million cases of COVID-19 and 666,440 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. Over the past seven-day period, the state reporting the highest number of cases per 100,000 people is Tennessee (760.6); Maine reported the least (113.6). In comparison, New York State has 206.7 cases per 100,000 people, and New York City has 154 cases per 100,000 people.

The vaccine rollout continues, with more than 383 million doses administered in the United States: 63.5 percent of the population has received at least one dose, and 54.2 percent was fully vaccinated as of September 16. In New York State, the CDC reports that 69.4 percent have received at least one dose and 62 percent are fully vaccinated.

The issue of booster shots remains a prominent issue in the media. Currently, the CDC only recommends booster shots for those who are immunocompromised. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with federal experts, has developed a plan for booster vaccinations, pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA's independent panel of vaccine advisers is meeting today to discuss the issue of booster shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and to vote on whether the agency should approve additional doses for people 16 and older. This will be a difficult decision, as there are experts in favor and against booster vaccinations for all. There appears to be stronger support for giving booster vaccinations to the elderly, which is already taking place in European countries.
As a reminder, all New York Tech students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated by October 22, 2021. More information about our vaccination and testing policies and how to upload proof of vaccination can be found here.
The CDC also continues to monitor variants of SARS CoV-2. The Delta variant, which now represents a low of 92.9% of variants in Louisiana and a high of 99.7% of variants in Washington D.C., is the most dominant variant by far in all states being monitored. In New York State, the Delta variant has now increased to 97.8% of all variants; in Arkansas, it represents 97.4%.

The speed at which the Delta variant has traveled throughout the world, despite global community mitigation efforts, is a true public health lesson. As discussions continue about sharing the COVID vaccine worldwide and specifically with underdeveloped countries, we should all bear in mind that this is a global community issue. Therefore, it is not only a moral philanthropic effort to assure that all countries have access to vaccines, but it is also in our self-interest to reduce all communicable diseases worldwide. One of my favorite sayings is "A threat to public health anywhere is a threat to public health everywhere." This has been clearly demonstrated by SARS CoV-2.

In both the New York Tech community and the community at large, breakthrough cases (a COVID case that occurs in someone who is fully vaccinated) continue to occur, and we must all remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the spread of this virus. Therefore, it remains important for employees/students to remain at home when ill. Vaccinated individuals can still carry the coronavirus, so please stay at home if you have flu-like symptoms and do not put others at risk.

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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