HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Just as we’re reopening New York, the variant of the coronavirus known as Delta is now becoming the dominant strain in the United States.

The highly contagious variant has spread to at least 42 states, including the Tri-State Area. In response, there’s now an effort to get even more people vaccinated on Long Island.

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Jump right into the 22 swimming pools in America’s largest township, Hempstead, where some parents worry the state’s lifting of protocols may be used as an excuse not to get inoculated.

EMS teams will be partnering with Mount Sinai to offer poolside vaccinations to those eligible.

“EMS teams at pool facilities on a rotating basis and offer residents those vaccinations because that is really the key,” said Hempstead Town Supervisor Donald Clavin.


“As a public health scientist, I remain concerned about COVID,” said Dr. Anthony Santella, a professor at Hofstra University.

Dr. Santella said clear and concise messaging about COVID spread may be lost with the state’s “rip off the bandage” approach. There’s no carrot dangling to urge vaccinations.

Plus, with the spread of the new Delta variant, “It is more infectious, so it’s easier to catch … and potentially make you sicker. So this is kind of a perfect storm,” said CBS health contributor Dr. David Agus.

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State data shows the number of Long Islanders getting newly vaccinated dropped sharply since the reopening announcement. Low vaccination rates are tied to high school and college students.

“The Delta variant is a variant that we know about. Imagine all the variants we don’t know about that are emerging right now,” said Dr. Santella.


Although some families preach full steam ahead, others are more cautious.

“With this new Delta virus coming out, I would like everybody to be protected,” said Andrew Sanon of East Meadow.

“I think we should still be a bit on guard. This is something new,” said Maria Manchisi, of Westbury.

“I think we still need to do everything thoughtfully and strategically to make sure that we don’t have another surge,” said Grant Sterling, from Glenwood Landing.

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Sterling wonders about future vaccinations for his young children.

Jennifer McLogan