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Eighty percent of New Yorkers living in the metro area say the government should be doing more to make Covid testing widely available and has failed in the effort thus far, results from a new poll reveal.

Mount Sinai South Nassau’s most recent Truth in Medicine Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Credit Union, surveyed metro New York residents about their opinions on the pandemic. It revealed that 57 percent blame the federal government for a lack of readily available testing, while 15 percent blame the state government. The Oceanside hospital, which releases poll data on different medical topics at least once a year, noted that the answers were collected during the first week of January 2022, before the U.S. government made four test kits available for free to each American household through the postal service.

“The lack of available testing has been an Achilles’ heel of the Covid-19 response since day one of the pandemic,” said Dr. Adhi Sharma, president of Mount Sinai South Nassau, recalling the pandemic’s early days when tests were tightly controlled and results would take up to two weeks. “More testing enables those who suspect they may have been exposed to get information, stay home if they have a positive result, and help stop the spread to others.”

Sixty-three percent of the poll’s participants said they believe the pandemic will last at least another year, and more than 60% supported mask-wearing in private businesses, theaters, schools, courthouses, and places of worship.

Most poll respondents – 80%, both vaccinated and unvaccinated – also supported offering emerging antiviral pills and antibody medicines to all patients with Covid, regardless of if they’ve had the vaccine. Of all the poll respondents, 79% had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. About one-half of those vaccinated also had a booster, while those unvaccinated reported being unlikely to get the shot in the future. 

“We still have more work to do to educate why people should receive a booster vaccine and to get their children vaccinated,” said Dr. Aaron E. Glatt, chair of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic.”

According to the poll, 43% of metro residents continue to put off routine medical exams, such as an annual physical, dental or eye exams, mammograms or blood pressure screenings, due to the pandemic. Doctors at the hospital say that residents should not put off these exams and put themselves at more risk by doing so.

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