Coronavirus: New York mandating vaccination or weekly testing for transit workers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that employees of the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing by next month.

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The announcement comes after Cuomo announced last week that state workers will be required to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing by Labor Day.

“Today, the MTA (and the) Port Authority … are adopting that policy starting Labor Day in New York,” Cuomo said Monday at a news conference.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Delta variant accounts for 83% of sequenced COVID-19 cases in US, CDC director says

The measures are aimed at protecting workers and the public as the delta variant of COVID-19 drives new infections nationwide.

Last month, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the delta variant accounted for 83% of new infections being reported across the U.S. Research has shown that the variant can be spread by fully vaccinated individuals, although health officials have said that vaccinated people who get COVID-19 see severe illness far less often than those who are unvaccinated.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Most infected in outbreak after large public events were fully vaccinated, CDC says

Cuomo on Monday urged businesses to do more to protect customers and employees against COVID-19.

“Private businesses, I am asking them and suggesting to them – go to vaccine-only admission,” Cuomo said. “I believe it’s in your best businesses interests to run a vaccine-only establishment.”

>> Related: Leaked CDC report: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

About 55% of New York residents have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the state health department. Data from the CDC shows that just under 50% of Americans have been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, the last date for which data was available.

About 60% of New Yorkers and 58% of all Americans have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

>> Related: How do you know if you have the delta variant; what are the symptoms?

The United States leads the world with the most coronavirus cases and the highest death toll. Since the start of the pandemic, officials have confirmed more than 35 million infections and reported more than 613,000 deaths nationwide, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

More than 198.5 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, resulting in 4.2 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

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