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The victim, who is Asian, was taken to the hospital and his condition is said to be deteriorating.
- I'm David Novarro, Channel 7 Eyewitness News, with a look at this afternoon's coronavirus headlines.
And there's growing concern this afternoon about new variants that have been discovered in New York City. But local health officials say there's still a lot that we do not know.
- When you read this news, you need to be a little skeptical of everything you read. Not all variants are of public health concern. Some variants are just that, they're variants. They're just a little bit different.
Some variants are variants of interest. They have changes in their structure that might change the virus's property.
And some variants are variants of what we call public health concern. They have these mutations and we have enough data to show that they change whether the virus is more infectious, whether it's more lethal, whether it can change immunity, something else.
So, right now, at least for the report that we hear, we have from Columbia, we need you to consider this a variant of interest-- something that's interesting that we need to follow and track.
BILL DE BLASIO: Until there's evidence that tells us that a variant is not handled well by vaccine, for example, or a variant has different impacts, we shouldn't assume the worst. We should say we need the full truth. We need the facts.
DAVID NOVARRO: Meanwhile, New York City middle school students returned to the classroom for the first time since November. Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg has the details.
STEVEN BUCCELLATO: The echoing sentiment throughout the building was that they were so happy to get our students back in front of us, to be able to teach them, to see them in person. And that's not possible without a special thank you to our custodial staff, who's been doing all the great work, and our administration, who's been on top of everything, making sure that the building is ready for us to come back.
NINA KULKARNI: I am both a New York City math teacher and a parent of three New York City public school students, one of whom attends McKinley. Today marks an important step towards reclaiming our lives.
LAUREN GLASSBERG: Two teachers from the William McKinley Intermediate School in Bay Ridge speaking about their excitement at being back at school today. The mayor welcomed students at the Leaders of Tomorrow Middle School in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx, beaming that so many kids are in school during this pandemic.
BILL DE BLASIO: 1,203 schools are open today. Open and serving our kids and moving the city forward. 1,203 schools open right this moment.
LAUREN GLASSBERG: The mayor has said high schools aren't far behind in reopening, but the president of the Teachers Union says he doesn't see that happening until more testing is available
MICHAEL MULGREW: For the middle schools, we added an additional 55 testing teams. We have not seen the city, nor have they shown us that they have the capacity to do the high schools yet.
DAVID NOVARRO: And that was Lauren Glassberg reporting.
Also today, Reverend Al Sharpton and other members of the Black clergy from across the New York area received their first coronavirus vaccines at Harlem Hospital.
It's part of a push by faith leaders in the Black community to raise confidence in the vaccine. Research has shown a racial disparity in who is getting the shots. To encourage more minorities to get vaccinated, clergy are rolling up their sleeves to lead by example.
AL SHARPTON: Let's quit playing with this and let's deal with it. If we're going to be leaders, let's lead. Our people are dying disproportionately. We cannot afford not to do everything in our power to make sure that we set the example to keep our people alive.
DAVID NOVARRO: Reverend Sharpton says that he is feeling well and has not experienced any after effects from the vaccine.
We invite you to stay with ABC7 NY for the latest developments in the pandemic and the race to vaccinate people across the Tri-State area. I'm David Novarro, have a great afternoon.