Coronavirus Update from New York City: April 2, 2020

As is the case with my previous two coronavirus updates, I am writing this impromptu because the situation with the coronavirus around New York City is just so fluid. It remains fluid, even though the virus has only had the attention of New Yorkers for a few weeks now.

At this point, I’m continuing to do fine, and so is the rest of my family. None of us have come down sick with the coronavirus; given that we’re all still healthy, we’re left wondering whether we already had it and didn’t realize it, or whether we had coronavirus and were asymptomatic, or what. Regardless, I just count my blessings that we are all still healthy, and I hope it remains that way. Especially since everyone in my household knows people who have coronavirus symptoms, and all of us at the very least know friends of friends who either fell critically ill or passed away from the coronavirus.

It has become spooky just how quiet things are around my neighborhood. It is literally quieter than it often is on a Sunday morning, with one exception: the number of sirens we hear. As for the sirens, we hear them all…the…time.

As a whole, the situation in New York City is not good. However, if readers really want to see exactly where in New York City the situation is worst, I would encourage you to take a look at a map published by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that details the number of cases in each zip code as of March 31st. It is not a perfect map, as not all zip codes contain the same number of people; however, it gives people a picture of some of the places where the highest number of people have tested positive for the coronavirus. I won’t analyze the numbers in every zip code, but there are a few observations that people should be aware of, in order to better understand the situation in New York City:

  • I live in one of the zip codes shaded in light purple on the map. What this means is that some areas have been hit harder than mine, but that my area has its fair share of positive tests for the coronavirus.
  • A number of the zip codes shaded in dark purple include neighborhoods such as Elmhurst and Corona in Queens, East New York in Brooklyn, and Morrisania in The Bronx. Many of these hard-hit neighborhoods are socioeconomically not exactly what you call well-to-do. That’s concerning, because it means that the coronavirus is ravaging neighborhoods where many of their residents may not have access to high-quality health care even in the best of circumstances (let alone under the circumstances of a pandemic).
  • Since the aforementioned areas are socioeconomically not exactly what you call well-to-do, residents in those areas who aren’t experiencing hospital-level coronavirus symptoms may not have the sort of access to testing that many wealthier people have. Therefore, I’m guessing that the number of coronavirus cases in the aforementioned neighborhoods may actually be underreported, even though the numbers are already high as-is.

Speaking of access to care, I’ve been telling people not to to treat Governor Andrew Cuomo (my governor), who has suddenly become a darling of many on the left, as a hero. Why? Because in the middle of a freaking pandemic, Governor Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team is recommending cuts in funding to hospitals and Medicaid.[1] I understand my state is facing a significant budget deficit, but a hero would not propose to cut health care funding in a pandemic. I know that’s somewhat off topic (but maybe somewhat on topic, as cuts might hurt New York’s response to another round of coronavirus or some other pandemic), but I just had to get that off my chest.

That’s pretty much it on my end. I hope my readers are hanging in there!


[1] https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/politics/ny-looking-at-hospital-budget-cuts-even-as-coronavirus-crisis-deepens/2347157/

Coronavirus Update From New York City: March 26, 2020

Last week, there seemed to be some reader interest in my update on how I’m doing, and how my city is doing, with the coronavirus. Given that fact, I will be continuing to post these weekly updates until the coronavirus settles down in New York City.

I, personally, am lucky economically. I heard that over three million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. I am not one of them, and to the contrary, I am not losing any pay as a result of this crisis. Yes, there are certainly quirks involved with working from home (which I started doing last Monday), especially when your priorities compete with the priorities of other family members working or studying from home. Nevertheless, when I consider the fact that over three million of my fellow Americans are filing for unemployment benefits, I am lucky economically.

I am also lucky health-wise (so far). I’ve had some minor seasonal allergies, but I have never run a fever and have never exhibited the symptoms that come with the coronavirus. Hopefully it stays that way for me and for my entire family.

New York City is not so lucky. My city is at the epicenter of this pandemic. At this point, well over 20,000 cases have been reported in New York City (and that may be low-balling). Granted, some of the reason for the high numbers is because testing has been more widely available in New York City (and New York State as a whole) than most other places. But some of it is because the situation here is genuinely bad. A hospital in the same neighborhood as my alma mater high school reported over a dozen deaths from the coronavirus in 24 hours.[1] Doctors and nurses are getting sick. There is still a grave concern about hospitals in New York City running out of certain medical supplies, including ventilators. The medical system in my area is severely strained. To those who think people are exaggerating how bad this pandemic is at the epicenter, I have two words to say: think again.


[1] https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/03/26/coronavirus-elmhurst-hospital-deaths/

Coronavirus Update from New York City: March 19, 2020

Let me first start out by saying that this post is being written impromptu, so this will be much less polished than most of my content on here.

That being said, with how much the coronavirus situation has escalated in New York City just in the last couple of days, I thought that it was important to provide my readers an update on how I’m doing and how my city is doing. I hope to do this on a weekly basis, usually on Thursday evenings (though the timing of these updates, just like nearly everything else during this time, is subject to change). Note that this is in addition to, not instead of, my regularly scheduled posts on Monday evenings. Also note that all of these posts will tend to be impromptu in nature, so all these updates will have content less polished than most of my content on here.

Personally, I am doing about as well as I could be, considering the circumstances. I have job stability, so I am in no danger of losing my job. Furthermore, starting next week, I will be working from home. Finally, many (but not all, by any means) of the things I do at work are things I can do at home as well, so the change won’t be quite as jarring for me as it will be for some people.

However, the situation in New York City is not good at all. As of the time I’m writing this, over 3,600 New Yorkers have tested positive for the coronavirus (with 22 deaths). Worse yet, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference late this afternoon that the city could be 2-3 weeks away from running out of some medical supplies. I am hoping Mayor de Blasio was being hyperbolic about the situation with our hospitals, but fear that he is not.

Needless to say, for those of you who are believers in prayer, please keep New York City in prayer. For those of you who are not believers in prayer, please keep New York City in your thoughts.

Twelve Years of Bloomberg as Mayor: A New Yorker’s Perspective (Part One)

As I said in my recent “blog news” post, I hope to focus on issues that are either misunderstood or “under the radar” during this election season. 

One of those “under the radar” issues is the mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg in New York City, especially since he is viewed as the “alternate to Bernie” (for those who are scared of Bernie Sanders). And, considering the fact that I lived in New York for nearly his entire tenure as mayor (with the exception of my freshman year and part of my sophomore year at college), I feel that I have something to offer on this under-the-radar issue. I feel it’s under the radar because, while certain elements of his past, such as stop-and-frisk, have been highlighted, many other elements of his time as mayor seem not to be discussed as much as they should be.

Some people may ask why these elements should be highlighted. After all, his tenure as mayor ended over six years ago. It’s relevant for three major reasons:

  1. Since a mayor is a governmental executive, his time as mayor can give insights as to what sort of governmental executive he would be as President of the United States.
  2. Many of the issues he faced as mayor, ranging from environmental issues to racism, are issues the country is grappling with right now.
  3. Part of what he is running on, at least in his ads, is focused on his track record as mayor.

Since his record as mayor is relevant to the current presidential campaign, I will do a couple of blog posts on that over the next week: a post next Thursday (different from my usual schedule as I tend not to post new content except for blog news on a Thursday) and a post next Monday. This schedule is designed so that people are well-informed about Mayor Bloomberg before Super Tuesday on Tuesday, March 3rd. The posts will be relevant to various topics of justice, and will particularly focus on the wide range of injustices that happened while he was mayor (wider than what the mainstream media is even covering). Note that none of the injustices will go much outside the purview of him as a mayor; despite his record as a businessman being well-deserving of scrutiny, I will not focus on that aspect of him in my next two posts.

I am hoping that my mini-series (which is NOT the series that is in the works, according to a recent blog post I wrote—this is actually a bit of an impromptu series) can raise awareness of how Bloomberg was and what he stood/stands for, from a New Yorker’s perspective. Albeit, a perspective of a New Yorker who did not face the brutal consequences of his policies that, say, my Muslim friends experienced. But a New Yorker nevertheless.

Lacking Recycling Bins in Public Spaces: A Waste of an Opportunity

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This is a photo of one of many areas in New York City that has a trash can, but no recycling cans. This photo was taken by me. 

When I saw a good friend in Philadelphia the other day, I had an environmental brain cramp. Namely, I didn’t think to hold my plastic water bottle until I got to my friend’s house, and I therefore put the bottle in a public trash bin.

Now, I am at fault for not waiting until I got to my friend’s house, where I could’ve actually recycled the bottle. However, the City of Philadelphia was also at fault for not having a recycling bin for plastic in a public space.

The thing, though, is that the problem I describe is not unique to Philadelphia. It is a widespread problem throughout the United States in places ranging from Carlisle, Pennsylvania (the town where I went to college) to my hometown of New York City.

I don’t understand why recycling bins are still uncommon in so many places. It’s not like there’s a lack of knowledge about the benefits of increasing the amount that our society recycles. Or that there’s a lack of desire to increase how much we recycle because many of these places without adequate public recycling have been led by environmentalists for many years.[1] I just don’t know why there hasn’t been more of a conscious effort to have more recycling bins in public spaces. My only explanation is that this issue has been overlooked, though if anyone else knows why, please leave a comment below.

What I do know is that we’re wasting an opportunity to increase recycling by not having more recycling bins in public spaces, because while I don’t think that recycling in public spaces will, by itself, save this planet, what will help is measures that help our society be better stewards of the environment, including the providing of recycling bins in public spaces.


[1] Michael Bloomberg won three terms as New York City Mayor as a Republican, but the original pilot program for recycling in parks and transit hubs in New York City started in 2007, during his second term as mayor.