New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was called out by reporters for claiming a mock vaccine he had on display was real during his Thursday press conference to show the complex process of administering the drug.
Pfizer‘s vaccine has not yet been approved by the FDA but Cuomo says once it is, 170,000 doses will be sent to New York to be given out to the most in need of it.
The process to administer the drug involves leaving 30 minutes for it to thaw, a six-hour window to inject it and only being able to open the dry-ice box it comes in for between 30 and 90 seconds, twice a day.
Cuomo started his presentation, making a snarky Christmas joke about the contents of the vaccine box while also claiming the vaccine he had in his possession was real.
‘What is in this box, maybe it is a Christmas present,’ he joked. ‘Who would I give a christmas present to in this room, let’s not ask.’
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Cuomo later said: ‘This is real. I’m going to show you how real this is.’
When reporters asked him to confirm that it was fake and that he hadn’t in fact compromised a box of the vaccines by leaving it open for well over 90 seconds, he conceded: ‘There is no vaccine in this vial.
‘It is a vial with no vaccine but I didn’t want to tell you that…’
The governor and Trump have butted heads about when New York would get the vaccine, after the president said he would withhold it in mid-November after Cuomo announced his appointment of an independent panel of experts to certify the vaccine.
Cuomo called Trump’s threat of withholding the vaccine ‘hollow’ and threatened to sue if there was an attempt to actually prevent the state from getting access to the drugs.
During the Thursday press conference, Cuomo sought to give more information about the vaccine and used a mock dry-ice box and an empty vial to show how it will work and how it will be given out.
The vaccine comes in a layered box. Underneath layers of dry-ice, there is a tray which holds five vials. Each vial contains five doses.
It’s unclear how many trays each box will hold. The box comes with a tracker and a thermometer to ensure the vaccine is cold enough.
Cuomo pulled out a mock box and vaccine on Thursday to show people how it will be stored. The first layer includes a tracker and thermometer to show it is cold enough
That layer sits on top of the trays the vaccines are stored in. There are five vials to one tray
A layer of dry ice is also inside the box to ensure that it is kept cold enough
Each vial (the one used by Cuomo was empty) contains five doses of the vaccine
This is how the vaccines will be sent out in their millions by Pfizer
It needs to be thawed for 30 minutes once out of the box, then, needs to be diluted.
Once diluted, it has to sit for two hours before it is ready to be administered.
At that point, the doctor or nurse giving it out only has six hours to do so before it becomes unusable.
Crucially, the box can only be opened at a maximum of twice a day for between 30 and 90 seconds at a time.
New York’s numbers are still going up but there is no lock down insight, unlike in California, which was locked down on Thursday.
This time, Cuomo said he will not shut down entire regions of the state like before.
In New York City, for example, it will be handled on a zip code basis.
There are now more than 4,000 hospitalizations across the state of NY compared to nearly 19,000 at the height of the pandemic. The numbers are rising but at a slow enough rate to keep the situation under control, Cuomo said
‘You don’t have to close a restaurant in Queens when you have a problem in Brooklyn. It doesn’t make sense,’ he said.
NYC COVID TEST POSITIVITY RATES
STATEN ISLAND 4.5%
Of all the boroughs, Manhattan has consistently had one of the lowest infection rates.
Staten Island was, until recently, the worst but has now been overtaken by the Bronx.
Every borough aside from Manhattan is between 3 and 5 percent.
Manhattan is 2.3 percent.
New York’s statewide test positivity rate is currently slightly over 4 percent.
There are 4,000 people in the hospital with COVID and 61 people died on Wednesday from it.
‘The numbers are changing. In the broad scope of things we’re dealing with hospitalizations – we’re doing dramatically better than every other state,’ Cuomo said.
New York, once the epicenter of the virus in the world not just in the US, is now 47th in the list of states where test positivity is highest.
The only other states behind it are Maine, Vermont and Hawaii.
Idaho is at the top of the list. Nearly 50 percent of tests there are positive.
Today, 4000 people are hospitalized. Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota and Oregon also have high rates.