Coronavirus Update From New York City: August 26, 2021

Wow, what a week it has been, both Coronavirus-wise and otherwise!

The biggest news coming out of my state (New York) is that we have a new governor. Andrew Cuomo, who at the beginning of this pandemic was hailed as a hero, left his governorship disgraced and under a cloud of scandal. I know my third ever Coronavirus update begged my readers to not treat Cuomo like a hero, but good gosh–not even I could have predicted things happening in the way that they did! In any event, with Cuomo having left, in comes Kathy Hochul, who served as Lieutenant Governor for just over 1 1/2 terms before ascending to the position of governor as a result of Cuomo’s resignation.

Just hours after coming into office, Hochul did something that Cuomo should’ve done: have a school mask mandate.[1] Mask mandates in schools have been controversial, seemingly because kids and their parents feel they should have the freedom themselves to choose whether to wear a mask or not. However, my take is that, to put it bluntly, people need to care about more than themselves. People need to care about others, and namely, care about preventing others from getting sick–something that masks can help with. Mask mandates are the right thing to do.

Of course, Hochul will have more to do on the Coronavirus than just have the school mask mandate. She will, in my personal opinion, need to recognize the basic reality that certain things that were possibly safe before the Delta variant are not safe anymore. Things like indoor dining, big crowds that aren’t socially distanced (even outdoors), and large indoor social gatherings do not seem safe right now, even for those of us who are vaccinated (since there’s a significant body of scientific evidence showing that even vaccinated people can get and spread the virus). My hopes aren’t high for this, as the only place that I hear has started reinstating some restrictions on such things is the State of Hawaii, though perhaps Hawaii will end up becoming a trendsetter if the Delta variant grows worse.

Speaking of big crowds outdoors that aren’t socially distanced, I should provide an update on what happened to the so-called “Homecoming Concert” that I talked about on my blog a couple of weeks ago. This concert was billed as a return back to normalcy, of sorts, for New York City, a concert where people can come and enjoy some major musicians. Such a concert may’ve seem reasonable a couple of months ago when the virus appeared to be subsiding, but with the spreading of Delta, we aren’t exactly heading back to normal and it didn’t seem like a wise time to have a massive outdoor gathering with tens of thousands of people like that. Well, the concert got ruined, not because of the Delta variant, but because some dangerous weather courtesy of Hurricane Henri (a storm that delivered heavy rain to New York City, though thankfully I didn’t experience any of the flooding that certain other parts of the northeast United States had). I wished the concert wasn’t even a thing in the first place, though, because then we could’ve avoided the non-socially distanced scrambles for safety as a result of the weather issues.

While I thought this concert was a mistake, I am hoping that this (as well as schools, which are supposed to return in the next few weeks) don’t end up being super spreader situations. We shall see…


Coronavirus Update From New York City: August 19, 2021

I hope everyone is healthy and safe, regardless of where you are.

My family, who is entirely vaccinated, remains healthy. We, of course, continue to practice precautions such as wearing masks indoors, not eating indoors, and avoiding large gatherings as much as possible. This is sometimes labeled as living in fear, but in reality, we are doing what we can to prevent the virus from spreading to others, and particularly to unvaccinated kids and the immunocompromised.

However, COVID cases continue to be on the rise where I am, and rise at a startling rate, at that. Just to put into perspective how quickly things are increasing, in my county, we were at 10 cases per 100,000 just a few weeks ago, and now we are at nearly 22 cases per 100,000. Just as concerning (if not even more so) is the fact that hospitalization and ICU rates are quickly increasing again, and increasing to a point that if we’re not careful, many ICUs in our area will be under great duress in the next few weeks.[1] This would be a repeat of situations that I hear are playing out in other parts of the country, where ICUs are getting filled up already.

And this is all happening before school year even starts. The school year starts relatively late where I live (soon after Labor Day), so if we’re going through all of these problems now in New York, I am scared to think of what may happen after school returns post-Labor Day. If nothing else, at least I can take solace in the fact that mask mandates in schools seem to be the trend where I live, unlike with certain leaders (though I am still concerned that masks by themselves won’t be enough). I don’t think that mask mandates are enough (you need social distancing, good ventilation indoors, and vaccines, to name a few), but it’s better than nothing.

Speaking of leaders, by the time I write my next COVID update post, my state will have a new governor. As Governor Cuomo is resigning as a result of the sexual harassment scandal he’s implicated in, we will have a new governor in the current Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul. We will find out in due time how good Hochul is in dealing with the dual crisis of the virus and the economic fallout resulting from it. My hope is that she won’t be distracted by scandals, and therefore able to focus on the crises she will confront.