Coronavirus Update From New York City: May 7, 2020

I hope that all my readers are doing well, staying healthy, and staying safe.

I continue to remain physically healthy, and so does the rest of my family. We also remain financially healthy, as nobody in my family has lost jobs due to the pandemic. I have also been able to get two things done on the blogging front:

  • I had a guest post on another blog. Namely, I had a guest post on how segregation in a major city is not just a Philadelphia issue (the blogger has written about racial segregation in her home city of Philadelphia, among other things). Thanks to fellow blogger Kayla for publishing this post, and I encourage you all to check out her blog, Dear Destiny!
  • I now have a page on my blog titled “2020 Coronavirus Diary.” On that page, I have links to all of these weekly update posts on the coronavirus in New York, as well as blog posts relevant to the coronavirus. This page was created with the goal of others being able to see what the virus was like in New York City, an epicenter of it.

While I’m happy these things happened, these are really temporary distractions from the current grim reality. Last week, I made a mention of my mom’s calculation that we have sixteen friends, family members of friends, or friends of friends who have died from the coronavirus. Now, I think that count is above twenty.

My state is continuing to experience declines in hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions, and deaths. A few weeks ago, we were losing 700-800 New Yorkers a day. Now, we’re losing 200-300 New Yorkers a day. Granted, every life lost is awful, but I present this contrast between 700-800 daily deaths and 200-300 daily deaths to hopefully show others (particularly those who are eager to reopen before hospitalizations and deaths drop down significantly) that these measures, harsh as they may seem, are saving lives.

Hopefully, these positive trends in New York continue in the coming weeks. On May 15th, parts of the state will start to reopen, starting with parts of the state that haven’t been as severely affected by the coronavirus as other parts of the state (so New York City is likely not reopening on May 15th). At that, New York will start with some industries in less affected parts of the state where social distancing can still be practiced in the work that is done (for example, some forms of construction). Given how badly New York has been hit by the coronavirus, Governor Cuomo seems to be (rightly, in my opinion) taking a cautious approach to reopening the state.

So, when you’re hearing stories around this time next week about New York starting to open back up again, that may apply to people in parts of the state, but it likely won’t apply to New York City.

Do you have any outstanding questions about how I’m doing or how New York is doing? If so, feel free to ask in the comments section below!

We Need to Grapple With Sexual Misconduct From Politicians…Even when It’s Politically Inconvenient

Content warnings: Inappropriate touching, sexual assault

I don’t know how many of my readers caught this bit of news with the media being in all-pandemic-all-the-time mode, but there is an allegation of sexual assault against former Vice President Joe Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. Namely, Tara Reade, a former Biden staffer when he was a United States Senator representing Delaware, has accused her former boss of sexually assaulting her in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in 1993.[1]

And yet, I have heard relatively few on the Democratic side even talk about the allegations against him, save a few disgruntled former Bernie Sanders supporters who are struggling to support Biden. Goodness, even the story about the accusations eight women (including Reade) levied against Biden last year for inappropriate touching seemed to disappear after a couple of weeks, even though there are photos of him touching women in ways that clearly made them uncomfortable. For a party that claims to be pro-woman, it’s pretty appalling that the representative of said party for the party has, at minimum, a well-documented history of inappropriate touching of women (and potentially sexual assault).

It’s not just Biden and the Democrats, though. With the Republicans…need I say more? If you’re a Republican reading this piece, with all due respect, your party continues to stand behind someone who says: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” Your leader literally bragged about getting away with sexual assault. Yet, leadership in your party looked and continues to look the other way.

Examining how the Democrats have handled Biden’s different accusations, and how the Republicans handled Trump’s, there seems to be a commonality: these politicians’ misconduct against women is not scrutinized fully if it is politically inconvenient to do so. It is politically inconvenient for the Democrats to scrutinize Biden’s accusations of inappropriate touching and accusation of sexual assault because of “blue no matter who.” It is politically inconvenient for Republicans to scrutinize Trump’s past allegations of sexual assault because of “Trump no matter what.” Treating these accusations with the seriousness deserved has seemingly been sacrificed in the name of political convenience.

We need to scrutinize the accusations of misconduct against women that our politicians face, regardless of whether there is a D or an R next to their names. We need to talk about and grapple with such accusations of misconduct, even if it’s politically inconvenient, and even if the accused deny the allegations they face.


[1] https://time.com/5819939/joe-biden-accusation-sex-assault/

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 30, 2020

As I started thinking about what to write for today’s coronavirus update piece, it dawned on me that I’ve been providing updates for nearly a month and a half. Indeed, I provided my first update on March 19th, and here I am, providing my seventh weekly update at the end of April!

There have been no changes in terms of my own health and my family’s health. No change is good news, as it means none of us have still received coronavirus symptoms. All of us in the household are definitely looking forward to the day that we can see whether we have already contracted the coronavirus and were possibly asymptomatic. That being said, I would like the antibody testing for the coronavirus to get more accurate first before getting a test myself, because apparently, the current antibody tests (tests that look for antibodies to determine whether someone has already gotten the virus) are quite inaccurate and have the potential to mislead people into thinking they were already infected.[1]

While the death rate has lowered overall (more on that in the next paragraph), one thing that has set in, at least in my family, is the magnitude of the losses we have suffered from the coronavirus. My mom calculated recently that we have sixteen friends, family members of friends, or friends of friends who have died from the coronavirus. I think that number has gone up since my mom did her count a couple of days ago. That’s a lot of loss.

Speaking of the overall death rate, while the numbers are still way too high, they are also trending downwards. The number of coronavirus patients in hospitals and in the intensive care units at hospitals are also down. While I don’t feel that New York City is ready to reopen yet, I do find it encouraging that social distancing seems to be working (though I wish we started it sooner…some experts assert that starting this sooner could’ve saved many thousands of lives in New York). If we get a resurgence of this in the fall, as some experts are predicting, I definitely hope that an early and aggressive effort at social distancing can minimize loss of life.

If you are curious to see up-to-date information on what the coronavirus numbers are like in New York City, I definitely encourage you (in addition to reading my posts on Thursday) to consult this coronavirus tracker provided by a publication called The City. This tracker provides you with information on the number of new tests and cases per day, both city-wide and by borough (I’m in Queens). Their tracker also provides you with information on hospital and ICU admissions, among other things. So, if you’re eager to see what the situation is in New York City but you just can’t wait for my next Thursday update post, feel free to consult the tracker.

Before ending this post, I should note that I will have a new page on my blog called “2020 Coronavirus Diary.” While these posts definitely are valuable in the here-and-now for providing updates on how I’m doing and how New York City is doing, I think these posts could also be valuable years and even decades from now when people are wondering what it was like to be in the epicenter of that pandemic in 2020. It’s not something I have up right now, but I hope to get the page up over the weekend.

That’s pretty much it from me. How are all of you doing?


[1] https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/27/reliable-antibody-tests-coronavirus-207589

Did You Get Money You Don’t Need From the Feds? Here Are Some Ideas of Where to Donate It.

Those of you who have been following the weekly updates on how I’m doing, and how my city (New York City) is doing with the coronavirus, will know that I am in a pretty stable situation professionally. As a result, I didn’t need the federal government to give me $1,200…yet I was given it anyway since many of us are receiving somewhere between $1,200 and $4,700.

If you are a person struggling to make ends meet, you need not feel guilty about using the money to help yourself financially. In fact, you’re the kind of person who was envisioned as benefiting the most from receiving the money.

However, if you are like me in that you don’t need the money, I strongly recommend that you give away the money in ways that help those less fortunate (because there are so many people less fortunate than you, in that case). However, you may be struggling to figure out how best to use the money you received to help others. In today’s post, I offer some suggestions of the types of places where you can donate your money, in no particular order:

  • Food banks: Right now, food banks are the way that many people are surviving during these times. However, food banks need financial resources as well as donations of canned and dry goods, and that’s where your donations can come in.
  • Services that deliver food to seniors and/or those with underlying health conditions: There are a lot of people who need food but can’t easily go out to get it because they fall into a population that is at risk for suffering a severe case of the coronavirus (seniors and those with underlying health conditions). That is where a service that delivers food to people can be so vital. I will likely donate some of my $1,200 to one such service.
  • Anything that helps our health care workers: I’m leaving this open-ended because there are so many ways to help our health care workers. The public hospital system in New York is accepting donations that will help support the day-to-day needs of their workers,[1] but the needs for hospital workers in New York may be different than what they are in another part of the United States.
  • Anything to support local small businesses: Many nonessential small business staff have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus. As a result, some small businesses have started up crowdfunding campaigns to help their employees, some patrons of these businesses have looked to buy gift cards (in order to keep some sort of cash flow coming into the businesses), and some patrons of local restaurants have stepped up their support by ordering in or taking out with frequency. Regardless of the method of support, using your money to support your favorite local small businesses is money well spent.
  • Services that give support to those most vulnerable to physical, mental, and/or emotional harm during the coronavirus: This is a time when there is an elevated risk of domestic violence. This is also a time when some people in the LGBTQ+ community may be struggling while living with family who are highly rejecting of their identity. It is also a time when many people already struggling with their mental health may be struggling even more so. You may want to consider donating to an organization that helps provide support and/or services to a group of the population particularly vulnerable to harm during the coronavirus, such as one of the groups mentioned before.
  • Organizations that will help fight the spread of the coronavirus in places where health care infrastructure is poor: Okay, so for a developed country, the United States does not have a good health care infrastructure. However, this virus is poised to hit parts of the world that have health care infrastructure even worse than that of the United States. Therefore, an organization such as Doctors Without Borders, an organization that will help fight the spread of this virus in parts of the world where health care infrastructure is poor, is money well-spent.

Of course, this list, while somewhat extensive (I hope), is not comprehensive. With that in mind, if anyone here has other suggestions of types of places (or specific organizations) we should give our money to, please feel free to comment below! Hopefully, this list will provide the most fortunate among us an opportunity to think about where to donate, and might also make my readers going through hard times think about how they can best be helped during these times.

This is a “Blindly Just” post.


[1] https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/donate/

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 23, 2020

Thankfully, I am getting this post out earlier in the evening this Thursday than I did last Thursday. I’m glad about that because frankly, these updates have not been necessarily the sort of material I would recommend reading right before bed.

Anyway, everyone in my family remains free of COVID-19 symptoms. Some of us (myself included) have struggled a little bit with allergies, but those allergies are no worse for me this spring than they are most other springs. Besides, everyone’s temperature has been normal, and none of us have shown the symptoms of the coronavirus. I should also add this week that my living set of grandparents, who live in a senior living community in a different state, are doing okay. Believe me–I’m relieved myself, given all the horror stories coming out of many senior living communities and nursing homes about COVID-19.

The situation, while not great, has improved somewhat in New York. Here are a few things of note, with regards to New York’s situation:

  • As of the day I’m writing this, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported fewer than 500 deaths in one day for the third consecutive day. I’m not celebrating because daily deaths in the 400-500 range is still horrifically high, but the rate at which deaths were happening was at the 600-800 range last week.
  • Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are down. Once again, there are still a lot of people hospitalized and in the ICU, but given how difficult this situation has been, I will take even incremental improvement.
  • Even though things have improved somewhat, there is a long way to go, and in the assessment of public health officials in New York City and State, we are not ready to do the sort of partial reopening that is happening in parts of the United States.

Speaking of partial reopening, I see that there have been some protests over the stay-at-home restrictions in a number of states. I understand the desire among some to get back to some semblance of normalcy, and the anger in how that return is not happening quickly (or at all yet, in many places), but I beg people to take this pandemic seriously. Everyone in my family at this point knows multiple people who fell seriously ill or died from this. Unless you want that future for yourself, your family, and your friends, please take the social distancing and the stay-at-home restrictions seriously.

P.S. I heard about these protests. Therefore, I “counter-protested” by taking a picture of myself wearing a scarf for protection while taking a short walk for exercise, albeit a walk where I make sure to practice social distancing.