I hope that all of my readers are healthy and safe, regardless of where you are located.
The good news is that the COVID rates are down a little bit in my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. Now, the rate is still high, at just over 12%, so hopefully numbers will go in the right direction in future weeks as well.
Now, it is still important for people where I live to remain cautious. In large part because of the number of COVID patients in the hospital, 85% of total beds and 94% of ICU beds are filled in the hospital closest to where I live. Hopefully, as the test positivity rates go down where I live, so will these numbers at the hospital closest to where I live.
Given the need to continue practicing vigilance, I was deeply disturbed when Governor Cuomo announced that indoor dining will return to New York City, albeit at reduced capacity, on Valentine’s Day. Study after study shows that indoor dining is extremely risky, even if the dining tables are theoretically socially distanced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that indoor dining is extremely risky from a COVID standpoint. The science just doesn’t seem to support indoor dining right now, especially in neighborhoods where the infection rate is high (such as mine). I said this in last week’s COVID update post and I will say it again–while I am deeply sympathetic to the financial situation many restaurants find themselves in, I think it is more sensible to help make ends meet for restaurants through substantial financial assistance, not through the risky business of having indoor dining open.
On the vaccine distribution front, there is some promising news in New York: there is an expected increase in supply on our way. Now, I am realistic, insofar as I expect it to take some time for people to get vaccinated. However, I am hoping that as the Biden administration gets a better handle of what needs to be done, we can move forward and work towards making sure we get the most at-risk New Yorkers in particular vaccinated.
The biggest immediate concern for me is next Sunday. That day is Super Bowl Sunday, which in the United States of America is not only the day a big football game is played, but also the day that friends and extended families tend to meet up to watch the big game. However, now is not the time for such large gatherings, because said gatherings could result in further spread of this virus. I hope people are sensible and only stay within their COVID bubbles, so that we can minimize the spread of the virus. Enjoy the Super Bowl if you are a football fan, but enjoy it in a way that limits the spread of COVID, especially in a time that potentially more contagious than other forms of the virus are coming to the United States.
 Here is one such study: https://ny.eater.com/2021/1/29/22255018/indoor-dining-nyc-restart-cuomo-de-blasio