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New York City To Deliver COVID Antiviral Pills To Eligible Residents Free Of Charge, Adams Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City is making progress in the fight against the Omicron variant, Mayor Eric Adams announced Sunday.

Adams said indicators show cases are rapidly declining, and hospitalizations and deaths are down, too.

"New Yorkers are winning," Adams said. "The key indicators are showing that we're beating back Omicron variant."

COVID VACCINE

Gov. Kathy Hochul reported hospitalizations declined statewide by more than 550 in the past 24 hours. She said in a statement, "New Yorkers are doing the right thing -- getting vaccinated and receiving their booster, wearing their masks, and staying home when they're sick."

Mayor Adams said the city will deliver COVID antiviral pills to eligible New Yorkers same day, free of charge.

"Oral antiviral pills, like Paxlovid and Molnupiravir, taken for five days help stop the virus from reproducing, which reduces the amount of virus in the body and prevents symptoms from getting worse," Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi added.

Web Extra: Click here to see if you are eligible and learn more

READ MOREFDA Approves Merck's COVID Pill Molnupiravir, If No Alternatives

New Yorkers can call 212-COVID-19 to get linked to a provider.

If prescribed one of the pills, they will be delivered to your home via a partnership between the city Health Department and Alto Pharmacy, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported.

Officials say it can be done within hours.

"I've been aching for the day where I can give my patients a pill to save their lives. I can't tell you how emotional I get thinking about how far we've come with COVID," said Dr. Ted Long, head of New York City's Test & Trace Corps.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The mayor said New York City leads the nation with 75% of residents fully vaccinated, including 85% of adults and 50% of children over 5.

He said 16.3 million vaccine doses have been administered citywide, along with 2.7 million booster shots.

"The message is clear: Get vaccinated and stay up to date with your booster," he said. "This pandemic is still here. It's claiming lives."

The city reported 2,300 COVID-related deaths this month alone.

There were also strong words Sunday from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Speaking on NBC's Meet The Press, he spoke about the future of COVID-19.

"We've got to ... we're not going to manage this to zero. We have to learn how to live with this," Murphy said.

Like in New York, the number of positive COVID cases in New Jersey continues to drop. There were more than 9,000 on Friday and closer to 2,000 on Sunday.

On CBS' Face The Nation, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb was asked if the latest COVID variant BA.2 should be a cause or a concern.

"It maybe, perhaps, extends the tail on the decline that we're seeing across the country. There's some critical questions. Is it more contagious? It appears to be more contagious. Data out of Denmark from the Serum Institute suggests it's about 1.5 times more contagious than the strain of Omicron that has made it around the U.S.," Gottlieb said.

But those who were infected with Omicron should be protected from it as well. He added data from the United Kingdom suggests a fully boosted person may be more protected against the new variant.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner contributed to this report.

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