BUFFALO, N.Y. — The governor is reporting just shy of 70% of adults in New York as having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It's a sign things continue to head in the right direction — but officials say we're not out of the woods just yet.

What You Need To Know

  • State and local officials continue to urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine
  • A UB doctor says the summer is a good time to get the vaccine since the virus can more easily spread indoors in the colder months
  • New York State's COVID positivity rate is less than 1%


On Monday, Governor Cuomo announced 69.9% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. In the past, he said when that number hit 70%, many of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted. 

"It's not the finish line at 70, but we're coming around the last turn on the track," Governor Cuomo said. "It doesn't mean when we hit 70%, it's over. It means it's working." 

The 70% benchmark will allow capacity limits, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screenings and contact info for tracing will become optional in commercial settings like for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services. Meanwhile, those who aren't fully vaccinated will still be expected to wear masks and socially distance. 

"Those individuals that have only gotten one shot, it's critical that they get that second shot,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of University at Buffalo's Division of Infectious Diseases. “Some of the variants that are circulating in Western New York and the rest of the state require two shots for optimal protection.”

Dr. Russo says the virus spreads less readily outdoors, which is good news for summer activities. He thinks there's no better time than now to get vaccinated. 

"For those individuals that are unvaccinated, this is the moment to get vaccinated during the summer months, because as we shift to the fall and the cooler weather months and activities move indoors, the virus spreads quite well,” he said. “Those that aren't vaccinated … this virus will find you.”

New York's seven-day average positivity rate is now less than half a percent. For a state that used to be the epicenter of the pandemic, a finish line appears a bit more in sight. 

"Work to be done, but we're making great headway," Dr. Russo said.

CDC data on Monday reported 70% of adults in the state received at least one dose of the vaccine. Spectrum News 1 reached out to the state to see if they have any updated numbers.