Coronavirus Update From New York City: February 18, 2021

I hope that my readers are healthy and safe, regardless of where you are. I also hope that people who are in parts of the United States affected by the winter storms are remaining warm and safe.

Everyone in my family continues to be free of COVID. We’ve been in a hotspot for this virus over the past few months, but in spite of that, we have managed to steer clear of COVID in my family’s household.

That being said, the test positivity rate where I live has dropped somewhat–down to a little under 11%. While this number is going in the right direction, it is still too high for comfort, and still high enough that it is important to exercise extreme caution. I should also note that the test positivity rate citywide in New York is going in the right direction, thankfully.

One number that remains stubbornly concerning is the number of hospital and ICU beds filled in my area by COVID patients. Every single hospital in my county (Queens County, NY), including the hospital nearest to where I live, is considered to be numerically under some level of concern or stress based on the number of beds occupied by COVID patients (with the hospital closest to where I live using an astonishing 79% of its ICU beds on COVID patients).[1] It’s worth keeping in mind that hospitalization numbers are a lagging indicator when it comes to COVID (since it can take some time between being diagnosed for COVID and going to the hospital for it), but it’s still worth being aware of these numbers because it further highlights the need for people in my part of New York City to continue practicing COVID precautions so as to keep ourselves from getting the virus, and keep ourselves from putting further strain on already strained hospitals.

On the vaccination front, my parents are now theoretically eligible for the vaccines, but they’ve been unable to find a place nearby to get them. This seems to echo what many people in my area are saying, which is that the available vaccine supply is nowhere near the demand, and that the vaccine supplies are not in the right places. Per my parents, there are apparently vaccinations available in Potsdam in Upstate New York, which is located in a county with a test positivity rate under 3%,[2] but not in New York City, where the test positivity rate is over 8%. I am not an infectious disease expert, but from a layperson’s perspective, it seems like we should be looking to prioritize the vaccination of vulnerable people in places where COVID spread is the greatest (which isn’t the case with Potsdam).

Before ending this post, I should also talk about the big news coming out of New York: a scandal regarding how Governor Cuomo’s administration has handled nursing homes. Long story made short, what happened was that the State Attorney General’s office found that deaths in nursing homes may’ve been undercounted by New York State by as much as 50%.[4] On top of that, the FBI is investigating the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.[5] To make matters worse for Cuomo, a state assembly member in New York is accusing Governor Cuomo of threatening to destroy his career as a result of speaking out about the nursing home scandal.[6] I know I’ve been a frequent Cuomo critic in my update posts, but good gosh. All I will say about this for now, other than that it was tasteless for Cuomo to go after an assembly member who lost his uncle to COVID in a nursing home,[7] is that I hope that the ongoing FBI investigation is thorough.

But I should get off my soapbox. How are others doing?


[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/12/09/944379919/new-data-reveal-which-hospitals-are-dangerously-full-is-yours#lookup

[2] Utica is in Oneida County, NY, so what I have here is the Oneida County COVID-19 Dashboard: https://hoccpp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/d88f4e10d59d4553b24c3add5abcbb0b

[3] https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page

[4] https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2021/attorney-general-james-releases-report-nursing-homes-response-covid-19

[5] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/governor-andrew-cuomo-nursing-home-deaths-investigation-new-york-fbi-federal-prosecutors/

[6] To make matters even worse, the assembly member Cuomo attacked lost an uncle to COVID-19 in a nursing home: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/18/new-york-assemblymember-cuomo-coverup-469741

[7] Even if the accusation is not true, Cuomo has publicly made serious accusations of corruption against this assembly member for, of all things, corruption related to a bill several years ago over nail salon regulations. As to why he’s making that accusation now, the cynical part of my mind is thinking that it is an attempt (albeit, a poor attempt) at trying to deflect from his own problems: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/ny-state-of-politics/2021/02/17/assemblyman-ron-kim-says-cuomo-threatened-him-in-phone-call

14 Replies to “Coronavirus Update From New York City: February 18, 2021”

    1. It seems like the decline in numbers is happening nationwide. Hopefully, it’s a trend that continues. With regards to Cuomo I think having the federal investigation is important, but even if the federal investigation finds no wrongdoing, the underreporting of nursing home deaths is still a really bad look.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Yesterday was the first day that I could sign my husband up for a vaccination, but the website kept crashing and by 1:00pm the around 10,000 that were available at Gillette Stadium were all gone. Phase 2 involved so many different groups so there was not enough. The governor is taking a lot of flack for just concentrating on the mass vaccination sites, but seeing as how they were overwhelmed so quickly, you can imagine how the smaller sites would be. I for one am glad I am not responsible for handling it, the whole thing seems impossible. Glad you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, and here in the LA area, people have had difficulty using the technology to sign up, let alone worrying about the stability of the web servers themselves. It is a logistical challenge, but certainly not impossible.
      Stay safe,
      -Shira

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah! I can’t believe that any public health service folks could forget how hard it is for elderly people with no kids/grandkids, etc, to deal with the tech! It’s their job to understand and include! Oh, wait, that’s why we have blogs working to raise awareness and bear witness, isn’t it?
        😦
        *sigh*
        Ok, back to work…
        (“keep a plugin way”… -my Alma Mater’s namesake, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, of DC!!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it is the job of public health service folks to think about these things, but I continue to discover (just in general) that people may not be aware of things that they don’t experience themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hmm, good point, unfortunately.
        I really hate it when people say this, and I hate it even more that it may be correct. That means we, the human species, may have alot more suffering ahead before we all learn to play nice together. 😦
        Why can’t folks just learn it from books?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s a major undertaking. The flip side of the criticism Baker received is that if you have an eligibility category too small, then you might see vaccines go to waste (which I’ve also heard about). It’s a huge logistical undertaking, dealing with the vaccinations.

      Like

  2. Hi, Brendan:

    Apparently our appalling numbers in southern CA are starting to fall, but I see so many people out dining, shopping, etc, with no mask (!!) that I will not be surprised if the numbers go up again after Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

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