NY hunger strike to raise awareness for workers denied COVID relief

Workers who have been left out of federal and state pandemic relief launched a hunger strike Tuesday to demand $3.5 billion in funding for excluded workers in the New York State budget as the deadline approaches.

Video Transcript

DAVID NOVARRO: I'm David Novarro with a look at some of this afternoon's coronavirus headlines and a big announcement involving a New York City summertime tradition. "Shakespeare in the Park" will return beginning this July. The 2,000-seat Delacorte Theater in Central Park will admit 500 people per show as long as they are tested. This year, there will be an adaptation of the Shakespeare play "The Merry Wives of Windsor."

Meanwhile, New York City has hit a new vaccination milestone. 3 million people have now been vaccinated within the five boroughs. Mayor de Blasio was asked whether New York should make everyone available for the vaccine beginning on April 5, just like Connecticut plans to do.

BILL DE BLASIO: I think President Biden has it right. I think May 1 is a better time to do that, because given the relative lack of supply, Andrew, staying focused on those who are most vulnerable, our seniors and folks with pre-existing conditions and essential workers-- I think it makes sense to stay that way for the remainder of March and April, and then, on May 1, to open up to everyone.

DAVID NOVARRO: At this point, everyone, as it were, means people 16 and older. Meanwhile, Moderna says the first children have received doses of its COVID-19 vaccine as part of a new study. Here's ABC's Eva Pilgrim.

EVA PILGRIM: Moderna announcing it will start testing its COVID vaccine on children as young as six months up to 12 years old, making them the first US vaccine maker to test infants down to six months. The company is planning to enroll nearly 7,000 children in the United States and Canada.

- There will be two parts to the study. The first part is where we will find the appropriate dose of the vaccine in children. Children often need lower doses of vaccines than adults, so we want to make sure we find the best dose that increases their immunity. The first age group will start in six years to 11 years of age, the second being two to six years of age, and the third being six months to two years of age. Why are we doing it that way? It's in order to make sure that, if we identify a dose that's lower than the adult dose--

EVA PILGRIM: This will be the first vaccine tested on children so young in the US. Dr. Steve Plimpton in Phoenix has already started enrolling his patients as part of the trial.

STEVEN PLIMPTON: For that reason, we're not only going to benefit the children by getting these children vaccinated, but now, we're also going to be protecting those around those children-- the teachers, the parents at home, the grandparents at home.

EVA PILGRIM: Rachel Guthrie is enrolling two of her children.

RACHEL GUTHRIE: I think it's very important because we are exposed to people who might be immunocompromised or who haven't yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

EVA PILGRIM: And more good news on the vaccine front. The CDC reporting that most people are getting both of their doses within the allotted time period. Eva Pilgrim, ABC News, New York.

DAVID NOVARRO: And we invite you to stay with ABC7 NY for the latest on the coronavirus pandemic and the race to vaccinate people across the area. I'm David Novarro. Have a great afternoon.