Morning News Briefing
Written by Michael Baldwin on December 29, 2020
Since Christmas Eve, the number of positive COVID cases in Genesee County has topped 100. Health officials say 101 people have confirmed positive results. Thirty-eight people are hospitalized for treatment of the virus. Meanwhile, health officials in Orleans County report 80 new cases. Nineteen of the new positives are inmates of the Orleans Correctional Facility. Eighteen of the current positive individuals are hospitalized.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo says, even though the first doses of the vaccine are rolling out to the first groups of people in the state, New Yorkers need to remain vigilant, wear masks, and practice social distancing well into 20-21. Governor Cuomo told reporters Monday that additional lockdowns are an option, but stresses that the economy can’t handle another widespread shutdown. Health experts believe, if at least 70 percent of the general population get vaccinated, the COVID-19 pandemic could start dwindling by summertime.
Today’s national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.25, up 3 cents from last week. One year ago, the price was $2.57. The New York State average is $2.32 – up 2 cents from last week. The price in Batavia stands at $2.25 a gallon, that’s up 2 cents since last week. Two factors have contributed to driving up prices at the pump: rising crude oil prices and tightening supply. Even with holiday demand increasing, overall demand still remains at an extremely low level. AAA believes this factor will impact gas prices, pushing them cheaper in January.
New York Attorney General Letitia James sent out a warning Monday telling New Yorkers to be wary of COVID vaccine-related scams. Right now, nursing home residents, those who care for them and many healthcare workers are receiving the vaccine. The vaccine will not be available to the general public for several more months, according to the AG. In keeping with federal guidelines, long-term care residents and staff and other healthcare workers, then certain essential workers, and finally members of the general population will be offered the vaccine next. The AG continues to warn of scammers offering access to the vaccine through, email, phone or text. She is also warning of scammers impersonating public health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) and even a local health department. They may also offer to ship a COVID-19 vaccine directly to homes, provide special access to vaccines or clinical trials, or sell special cold storage device for vaccines.
During Monday’s legislative session, the Assembly Minority presented amendments intended to curtail the governor’s expanded authorities and provide greater balance and accountability in the “COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act.” The Assembly Majority rejected each proposal. Earlier this month, members of the Assembly Minority wrote to conference leaders, urging lawmakers to rein in Gov. Cuomo’s unilateral powers as soon as the Legislature reconvenes. Despite 10 months of expanded authority and laws created by executive order rather than the legislative process, the Assembly Majority declined to take action.