Biaggi tests positive for COVID-19, isolates at home


State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi has tested positive for the coronavirus, and says that although she is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, she's now isolating at home.

"While I am fully vaccinated and have taken all CDC-recommended safety precautions, I unfortunately contracted the virus," Biaggi said, in a statement released Friday.

Although "breakthrough" cases — where someone becomes infected and shows symptoms despite being vaccinated — are uncommon, it can still happen. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was vaccinated when he contracted the virus, and later died from complications related to COVID-19. Powell, however, suffered from a number of other health conditions that doctors say may have been exacerbated by his infection, including blood cancer.

Biaggi, however, is believed to be healthy otherwise, and does not at this point require hospitalization. She credits the vaccine for helping to keep her out of the intensive care unit.

"The vaccine has proven to slow transmission of the virus and to suppress symptoms, protecting people from more serious outcomes, including death," Biaggi said. "All of us must continue to do our part in protecting our community's health and safety — that means getting vaccinated."

Being sick has not stopped Biaggi from expressing a number of views on social media, including providing support for Alison Turkos, who has been pushing for a criminal investigation into what she says was a gang rape involving a Lyft driver. She also pushed the state Democratic Party to back India Walton in her bid for Buffalo mayor after she defeated incumbent mayor — and party favorite — Byron Brown.

Jay Jacobs, who leads the state party, took heat from Biaggi and other Democrats last week for comparing Walton's campaign to that of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. Jacobs since apologized for using the analogy.

Biaggi discovered she was positive the night before Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Bronx, but her spokeswoman says the senator was not scheduled to attend the event anyway.  Instead, other state senators at the newly built Northeast Bronx YMCA were Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Democratic Party chair Jamaal Bailey.

Biaggi's positive COVID-19 result is yet another reminder that the virus is still very much present in our society. The senator was one of nearly 3,600 people in New York who tested positive for the virus on Thursday, representing just under 2 percent of those who were tested, according to the daily report issued by Gov. Kathy Hochul. Positive test rates in New York City are just above 1 percent, while the Mid-Hudson portion of the state where Biaggi lives has a 2 percent positivity rate.

Nearly 76 percent of New York's adult population is fully vaccinated, according to state officials, while the total vaccinated population is at 64 percent. More than 6.1 million people living in New York City are now fully vaccinated, representing about 73 percent of the city's population.