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

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/