A major snowstorm rolled into the Northeast on Wednesday at a key moment in the coronavirus pandemic, days after the start of the U.S. vaccination campaign and in the thick of a virus surge that has throngs of people seeking tests per day.
Snow was falling from northern Virginia to points north of New York City by late afternoon. The storm was poised to drop as much as 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow in some places by Thursday, and the pandemic added new complexities to officials’ preparations — deciding whether to close testing sites, figuring out how to handle plowing amid outdoor dining platforms in New York City streets, redefining school snow days to mean another day of learning from home, and more.
“Our theme today ought to be, ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s another,’” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said as he gave residents storm guidance that’s new this year — mask up if you help your neighbors shovel.
Still, officials said they didn’t expect the winter blast to disrupt vaccine distribution, which began Monday for frontline health care workers, the first group to Americans to get the shots. The first 3 million shots are being strictly limited to those workers and to nursing home residents.