Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 8, 2021

First of all, I hope people have had a good Easter, Passover, or whatever holiday you celebrate.

This evening’s post, unfortunately, is starting on a sorrowful note. The reason for that is because I learned this week that a couple of people in a family who live in a house near mine lost their lives to COVID-19. As if I don’t already have enough reminders of how serious this pandemic is, I received yet another reminder this week. I don’t know when the two individuals passed away, but regardless, I keep these two individuals in my own thoughts and prayers.

This news also is a reminder of how fickle the pandemic can be. Nobody in my family has gotten COVID to our knowledge, yet we have people nearby who got COVID, and people nearby who even died of the pandemic. It’s so fickle that at this point I don’t know if it’s the strict following of public health precautions, dumb luck, or some combination of the two that has kept my family COVID-free. Personally, I think that it’s a combination of the two.

The other downer in the past week, albeit a downer in a different way, was the nature of the Easter Sunday holiday for me. Now, I went to church, but it was not like going to church on a regular Easter. I say that because I didn’t sing any hymns last Sunday, while in contrast I would passionately sing hymns on a regular Easter Sunday. I realize that from a COVID transmission standpoint, it was for the best that I didn’t sing, because droplets from your mouth travel much further when you sing than when you speak in a normal tone of voice. Yet, it it was still painfully difficult for me to abstain from singing–so much that I was in tears from resisting that temptation to sing the songs played on my church’s organ. While it was not as difficult as having to do Easter from home last year, it was challenging nevertheless.

The irony is that according to the church calendar of in the Catholic tradition and some other Christian religious traditions, we have just passed through Lent–a season that involves some form of sacrifice for many believers. And yet, even though the church calendar says that this season is over, emotionally and spiritually it feels like I haven’t even exited Lent 2020, even though Lent 2021 has already passed. I say this because the COVID-related sacrifices started in Lent 2020 and for me, at least, they haven’t stopped since then. I guess I can hope that the COVID situation turns around so that it spiritually feels like Easter by late summer? Fingers crossed.

On a different (and better) note, the test positivity rate for COVID in my neighborhood is at 8.2%, which is down from where it was last week. This seems to be bucking the trend (in a good way) compared to many parts of the United States, where COVID is again on the rise to the point that there is debate about whether there is now a fourth wave of the pandemic. This is also bucking the trend compared to the rest of New York City (at least at the moment), where the test positivity rate is stable.

The other positive piece of news is that vaccine distribution seems to be accelerating, to the point that 38% of adults in New York City have received at least one vaccine dose. As vaccine supply continues to expand, and as vaccine eligibility has expanded massively in the past couple of weeks (to the point that all New Yorkers 16 and older are now eligible for a vaccine), I trust that this number will go up even further. It is concerning, though, that there continues to be racial disparities in who is getting vaccinated–Blacks and Latinos are getting vaccinated at much lower rates than whites.

I know my post was a bit of a downer in parts today, but in spite of that, I do retain hope for better days ahead.

9 Replies to “Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 8, 2021”

  1. I’m sorry Brendan. The loss definitely reminds you how lucky you are if you or no one close to you have fallen victim to this. My husband and I are slightly relaxing after having received our first doses, but not enough to forgo wearing masks and social distancing for the foreseeable future. There was an elderly man in our apartment complex who died from COVID-19 a week after receiving his vaccine. That was definitely a wake up call.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So very sorry about your loss, I find myself thinking that we are on borrowed time, by next week both my husband and myself will have had both shots and my son on the way to getting his second, but you sit there wondering could something else happen. It is a bit like survivors guilt “Why haven’t we gotten the virus?”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Brendan, and please accept my condolences on the loss of your neighbors. We need these kinds of reminders, “downers” or not, they are true, and they are necessary for us to remember and to think on so that we continue to take sensible precautions. Other generations before us were far less lucky in terms of having vaccinations available, and of deaths due to diseases we now consider preventable. Even things like TB, which took my biological great grandmother very young, leaving my grandmother an orphan. These things can be prevented, and it is reminders, like this post, that can help.
    So, thank you, Brendan, and please
    Stay safe,
    -Shira

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the condolences, Shira. The news I heard about the deaths is definitely a reminder of how fragile things are, and how important it is to continue practicing sensible precautions. Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so sorry for your losses and I will pray for those who are grieving. I agree that the folks I know who have died seemed on some level random. Still we keep on trying. As a church pastor I can also see the churches who have given in to parishioners’ desires to return to normal and the terrible results. I know a person who went to a funeral recently and was told she was heartless because she didn’t hug everyone. On an emotional level, we will not be the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the prayers. And yeah, we are getting to the point with this pandemic where a lot of people are yearning to return to “normal” without thinking of the consequences of such an action at this stage.

      Like

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