Coronavirus Update From New York City: May 27, 2020

I hope that everybody had a good Memorial Day weekend!

Everyone in my immediate family remains healthy. That being said, I’m glad that I’m not spending tons of time in public, because at times I get allergies that can cause me to have coughing fits (and coughing fits that can result in people being concerned about me). Employment continues to not be an issue for me, though I am knowing more and more people who are having issues with being furloughed or unemployed.

The situation is continuing to move in the right direction in New York City and New York State.

At the state level, nine of the state’s ten regions are beginning the process of reopening their economies, though I must emphasize that it is a process. There are four phases involved in reopening a region in New York, and these regions are only beginning to enter the first phase. Nevertheless, it is a positive step that we’re seemingly having the pandemic enough under control that we can begin to reopen things. It is also a positive step that daily deaths from COVID-19 in New York State has dropped below 100 on a regular basis.

The only region that has not begun that process of reopening is…New York City. We don’t yet have the adequate contact tracing, and we don’t yet have a high enough availability of hospital beds to reopen safely; for those two reasons, we are not able to reopen yet. That being said, our numbers are trending in the right direction even in New York City, and I am hopeful that in the next couple of weeks, New York City will also begin the process of a measured and safe reopening.

With many places reopening (including most of New York State), I think it is worth discussing what the “endgame” is for these weekly COVID update posts. My plan is that I will continue doing these update posts until it is clear that New York City is opening up safely (which, to me, means that the situation in New York City looks okay for a month to six weeks after beginning to reopen). I think it is important to document for curious readers how the reopening process is going, and whether the situation continues to improve or not where I am. If, after four-six weeks, the reopening appears to be going safely, then I will wind down these weekly update posts. However, if the much-feared second wave of the virus comes, these weekly updates would return at a later point. And, of course, if the reopening doesn’t go well, then I will continue these updates, so that my readers know how things are going in New York.

I hope that others are doing well! I’m hearing mixed reviews of how reopening is going in various states and regions.

P.S. For those of you into numbers, I encourage you to visit New York’s Regional Monitoring Dashboard. This dashboard allows you to see how all the regions of New York State (New York City being one of them) is performing with several critical metrics that need to be met before reopening begins: decline in hospitalizations, decline in hospital deaths, new hospitalizations, hospital bed availability, ICU bed availability, testing capacity, and contact tracing capacity.

P.P.S. I actually intended to publish this tomorrow. I thought I had this scheduled for tomorrow at 6, but instead I published this today at 6. Oh well. Tomorrow evening is busy for me anyway, so perhaps it’s better that I have my update today. Future update posts will be on Thursdays, starting next Thursday.

Coronavirus Update From New York City: May 14, 2020

I have now been updating readers on how I’m doing, and how my city is doing, with this coronavirus for about two months now! That time has flown by.

Everyone in my immediate family continues to remain both physically and financially healthy. As for mental health, let’s just say that there is a reason that I often try to limit my news intake, even though I value the importance of knowing what’s going on in my city, state, country, and world.

As for how New York is doing, it’s…complicated.

Deaths continue to go down. It’s still horrifyingly high, but when you consider that the number of deaths per day was in the 700-800 range a few weeks ago, it’s a massive improvement that we now have some days when we have fewer than 200 COVID-19 deaths. Many of the other major indicators, such as hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, continue to trend in the right direction. That being said, we are by no means out of the woods in New York City, and in fact we have more recently learned of the disturbing development that there’s an increasing number of cases of children experiencing symptoms similar to those of Kawasaki disease that is likely related to the coronavirus.[1] The children who receive this sickness seem to fall extremely ill, and several of them have died. This story just feels like a new twist in what has been an ordeal (with the coronavirus) that has gone through many twists.

You may be hearing stories about how parts of New York State will be starting to reopen (albeit, reopen carefully). New York City, which is where I am, is not one of those parts. In order for a region in New York to reopen again, that region must be in a satisfactory state with all seven of the following metrics: decline in total hospitalizations, decline in deaths, new hospitalizations, hospital bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, diagnostic testing capacity, and contact tracing capacity. New York City has only met four of these seven metrics, which means that no region of New York State has met fewer metrics than New York City (new hospitalizations are still too high, plus we don’t have enough hospital beds or ICU beds available).[2] Needless to say, it would not be surprising if New York City ends up being the last part of New York State to start reopening.

How are your areas doing? While today’s post definitely offers a mixed bag of news, I feel like I’m in a different world here as compared to other areas, in that the situation is slowly improving in New York City while it is regressing in parts of the United States, and some parts of the world.


[1] https://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/kawasaki-disease-up-to-5-ny-children-dead-85-sickened-by-rare-covid-related-illness/2411571/

[2] At the bottom of this piece from NBC New York, you get an explanation of the various metrics required to be met for reopening: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/new-york-nears-reopening-on-brink-of-another-grim-milestone-as-pandemics-tragic-scope-may-never-be-fully-understood/2414771/

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!

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.

Coronavirus Update From New York City: April 9, 2020

It’s hard to believe that it has been only three weeks since I started giving weekly updates on my blog on how I’m doing, and how my city (New York City) is doing with the coronavirus pandemic. So much has changed in that time, and so much will likely continue to change. Today’s coronavirus update post will focus on what has changed with me and with my city since last week’s update.

Everyone in my family is still healthy. Sure, some of us struggle with a little bit with allergies, but many people struggle with allergies this time of year. None of us are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, though, so we all count our blessings. While it has been quite jarring to see how just about every aspect of life, from how I interact with people to how I do my professional work, has changed, I remain glad that I am healthy. I do need to make sure to take breaks for the sake of my own mental health though, because both my professional work and my volunteer work is at times very focused on the coronavirus.

With the extra free time available to me during the pandemic, I’m not sure if I have gained any new skills, but I helped build a new website! Long story made short, an organization I volunteer for (Gray Panthers, who are focused on anti-ageism work) partnered with another organization to help build a resource website for seniors in New York City during the coronavirus crisis (which you can find here). I was one of the Gray Panthers who helped put together the website.

The news in New York is very much a mixed bag. Here’s the good, the maybe good, and the bad:

  1. One piece of news is that it appears that hospitalizations for the coronavirus are flat. This is good news because it means hospitalizations are no longer on a sharp rise. At the same time, I’ve heard rumors that the numbers might be misleading because the threshold for taking COVID-19 patients to the hospital is much higher now than it was even days ago. Please note that this is only a rumor I’ve heard, so do not promote this rumor unless you have a reputable source backing you up.
  2. Another piece of news is that it appears most people are taking the social distancing, the wearing of masks, and the suggestions to stay at home as much as possible seriously. Hopefully, people will continue taking all of this seriously. A few people don’t take this seriously, but at least where I am, those people seem to very much be in the minority. Also, since I have readers who might be celebrating Passover now or Easter over the weekend, let me say this: just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean that we should be relaxing on the social distancing.
  3. In grim news, as of today (April 9th), New York State has over 7,000 deaths confirmed from the coronavirus. To put this into context, nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11…total (spread across multiple states). I am not saying this to lessen the significance of 9/11, but to instead show the magnitude of the crisis where I am. This number is likely to significantly increase in coming days, as New York had a record number of deaths from the coronavirus confirmed today.

So, that’s pretty much it for my update and my city’s update. How are you doing during this coronavirus, and how is your little corner of the world doing?