NYC COVID: With aggressive vaccination, city optimistic about future

4,058,854 total doses have been administered in New York City, which is more vaccinations than the total population of Los Angeles.

Video Transcript

- New York City is celebrating a new milestone in the battle against COVID-19. Mayor de Blasio announced the city has given out more than 4 million doses. Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett is live at the Javits Center with more. NJ?

NJ BURKETT: Right, and as you know, this is the second day that New Yorkers in their 30s and 40s are eligible for the vaccine, and the line of people arriving to get vaccinated flows like a river into the Javits Convention Center. And it is a swift-flowing river, at that. Today, Mayor de Blasio announced, as you said, that the city has broken the 4 million mark, well on the way to his goal of 5 million vaccinations in New York by June.

But what will it take for all New Yorkers to get vaccinations on demand? What will it take to get to a time when you won't need an appointment? Well, the mayor was asked about that today. And his health advisor was asked about the variants. You know they're concerned about them and the stubbornly high infection rate. Dr. Jay Varma said that we could, indeed, conquer the pandemic within two months, as long as vaccinations keep ramping up and people are conscientious about infection control. The mayor first.

BILL DE BLASIO: So long as we have supply, we'll just keep expanding. We're hearing good things about the April supply levels. We're hearing that there could be really extraordinary supply in May. So that says to me, going into May, going into June, it's going to be easier and easier for people to get a shot.

JAY VARMA: It's hard for all of us emotionally, physically to sustain this. But we need people to keep wearing masks, getting tested, maintaining distance, washing their hands, and staying away from others if they happen to have symptoms. There is a very real possibility that, you know, we can be completely out of this within another six to eight weeks of very aggressive vaccination. But we do run a risk of having a resurgence if we relax some of those measures of safety that we know work so well.

NJ BURKETT: Well, you want incentive? There you have it. You know, in recent days, public health authorities here in New York have become more confident about speculating on a timeline-- in particular, Dr. Varma. And now for a sobering note. About an hour ago, the CDC announced that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in America in 2020.