As omicron cases drop and New York City looks to emerge from the latest variant wave, city officials say they remain focused on deploying new tools to keep people safe and the virus at bay.
Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday that New Yorkers can now access free, same day, at-home oral antiviral pills to combat symptoms of COVID-19. The pills will be prioritized for New Yorkers who test positive for the virus and are at higher risk for severe illness.
The same-day treatment is the latest service provided by the city to meet New Yorkers where they are. Already, at least 8 million at-home tests have been distributed across the city to help residents test for the virus.
“We’re also offering high-risk New Yorkers, free, at-home delivery of COVID-19 antiviral pills to prevent serious illness and keep people out of the hospital,” Adams said. “I urge all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this service, and for every New Yorker to stay up to date with their vaccines and boosters.”
To date, 75% of all New Yorkers have completed a full vaccination series against COVID-19, according to city data. Booster shots, however, remain a target city officials hope to improve upon. The number of additional shots administered throughout the city is slightly above 2.6 million, suggesting only about 1 in every 3 New Yorkers has received a booster.
The Food and Drug Administration approved an emergency use authorization for the first oral antiviral treatment of COVID-19.
“As a primary care doctor right here in the Bronx, for the past two years I’ve been fighting to help my patients with COVID, and dreaming of the day when I could give them a pill that could save their lives,” Dr. Ted Long, executive director of NYC Test & Trace Corps, said Sunday. “Today, that day is finally here – and we’ll even deliver that pill to your home to remove all barriers to New Yorkers getting this life-saving treatment.”
COVID-positive New Yorkers should contact their doctors to request a delivery of the antiviral pill, or they can call 212-COVID19.
Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir are the only two at-home options that have received FDA authorization. The antiviral pills are taken once daily over the course of five days to reduce symptoms.
New York state has prioritized treatments to those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, and those who are older and not fully vaccinated, with at least one risk factor for severe illness.
“Not only is New York City winning in the fight against COVID-19, but we are bringing even more help right to New Yorkers’ front doors to continue beating this pandemic,” Adams said. “We’ve not only reduced the amount of cases by more than 80 percent since early January, but hit a new milestone with 75 percent of all New Yorkers fully vaccinated – way ahead of the national average.”