I hope all of my readers are well, regardless of where you are living.
The good news is that the rate of infection is continuing to slow down where I live. This continues to create hope that we are beyond the worst of the Delta variant of the virus, at least here in New York City. I do think we’ll have some further hurdles to clear in the holiday gatherings we’ll have over the next couple of months, and I still do not like the horrifyingly high rates of death and ICU bed occupancy that exist in parts of the country as we head into a time of year with these family gatherings.
At the same time, there is another vaccine mandate battle in my city, and this time, it’s over New York City mandating the rest of its public sector workers to get vaccinated, including agencies where vaccination rates are lower. There are some key New York City agencies with low vaccination rates, in some cases in the 60%-70% range. The police department and the fire department are among the agencies with low vaccination rates, at least as of a couple of weeks ago (when I see the most recent data from). I am guessing that most workers, when faced with the choice between a paycheck and no paycheck (because these workers who don’t get vaccinated will end up on unpaid leave), will decide to get vaccinated, if grudgingly (and in some cases, perhaps even angrily) so. We’ll see if I’m right when this mandate is scheduled to go into effect one week from tomorrow.
Speaking of the low vaccination rates among some New York City agencies, I think one thing I’m definitely reflecting on is the fact that some of the agencies with the lowest vaccination rates are also some of the agencies serving the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Among the ten agencies in my city with the lowest vaccination rates are the child welfare agency (the Administration for Children’s Services), the agency that deals with individuals experiencing homelessness (the Department of Homeless Services), the fire department, the agency responsible for overseeing public housing (the New York City Housing Authority), and the agency responsible for New York City’s prison population (the Department of Correction). I wish that people in the media pick up on that fact, because it is definitely something interesting that I’ve noticed. I can’t help but wonder whether other cities are also seeing that agencies serving the most vulnerable also have the lowest vaccination rates. And if so, I can’t help but wonder why that is the case. Perhaps these musings can be the inspiration for a study from someone, some day.
On a different note, I must point out that where these ICU issues are happening seems to be in parts of the country where vaccination rates are lower. It is not as much of an issue in places like the New York City area, where 40% of ICU beds are still available.
I should also follow up on something I talked about in last week’s blog post: holiday gatherings. My post last week noted that there were still real questions about what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance will be when it comes to holiday gatherings. This week, I can say that the CDC emphasizes the importance of good ventilation and vaccinations as the most important considerations in making sure you have a safe holiday season. So, I guess the moral of all of this is for people who haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated.
That’s pretty much it from my part of the world. I’d be interested to hear how others are doing, though!