Coronavirus Update From New York City: November 11, 2021

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

I will get my booster Moderna shot tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting the booster shot! Though, admittedly, I am looking much less forward to seeing what the side effects of the booster will be. All I will say is that I’m glad that I’m getting the shot on a Friday evening, so that I have the weekend to recover from whatever the side effects may be. In my Coronavirus update post next week, I will make sure to talk about the experience of getting a booster shot, in terms of the shot itself as well as any side effects I may have.

The rate at which the virus is spreading, which appeared to be slowing down for quite some time, appears to have at best stalled out and is in real danger of going on the rise again.[1] With the holidays right around the corner, it to me raises concern that the virus is in a position to spread even more, yet again. Which means more deaths.

In more positive news, the controversial vaccine mandate among New York City employees that I’ve been talking about in recent weeks appears to be working. And when I mean working, what I mean is that we’ve seen significant increases in the number of people in key New York City government agencies getting vaccinated. Namely, vaccination rates among police, fire, and sanitation workers have increased significantly.[2] While I absolutely hope that more people in local government will do the right thing and get vaccinated, I am also glad to see that the mandate, controversial as it may be among some, is working.

That is pretty much it, in terms of updates from where I am. I hope others are well!


[1] https://covidactnow.org/us/new_york-ny/county/queens_county/?s=25291442

[2] https://www.amny.com/news/fdny-nypd-see-steady-increases-in-vaccination-rates-a-week-after-vaccine-mandate/

Coronavirus Update From New York City: October 28, 2021

I hope that all my readers are healthy and safe, regardless of where you are living.

The rate at which the virus is spreading is continuing to slow down. This mirrors what we’ve been seeing across the United States, where the spread of the Delta variant has slowed down. What this also means is that we continue to have a good percentage of ICU beds available in the New York City area (steadily at or near 40% of beds available).

Even though the spread of Delta has slowed down, there continues to be parts of the United States where the pandemic situation is quite serious. I think of those in Idaho, where fewer than half of the people in that state are vaccinated and nearly 9 in 10 ICU beds filled.[1] I think of places like the Metropolitan Houston Area in Texas, where over 9 in 10 ICU beds are filled.[2] The worst of the Delta variant may be behind many of us in many ways, but we are still facing the consequences of the variant (and low vaccination rates in many areas that allowed it to thrive).

What continues to grab headlines in New York City, when it comes to the virus, is the battle over vaccine mandates. I talked in my post last week about the debate over said mandates among all New York City employees. As of the time of my writing this post, we appear on course for the mandate to start in the coming days. There are protests over the mandates, yet I continue to remain hopeful that when all is set and done, people will choose their paychecks over all else. That is certainly what Mayor Bill de Blasio is betting on. And if the bet goes wrong, we could be in for a turbulent time with staffing shortages in New York City agencies that serve some of the most vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, those having fires, and those in jail.

That’s pretty much it for me, for now. I’m very much interested in hearing how others are going along!


[1] https://covidactnow.org/us/idaho-id/?s=24761391

[2] https://covidactnow.org/us/metro/houston-the-woodlands-sugar-land_tx/?s=24761391

Coronavirus Update From New York City: October 21, 2021

I hope all of my readers are well, regardless of where you are living.

The good news is that the rate of infection is continuing to slow down where I live. This continues to create hope that we are beyond the worst of the Delta variant of the virus, at least here in New York City. I do think we’ll have some further hurdles to clear in the holiday gatherings we’ll have over the next couple of months, and I still do not like the horrifyingly high rates of death and ICU bed occupancy that exist in parts of the country as we head into a time of year with these family gatherings.

At the same time, there is another vaccine mandate battle in my city, and this time, it’s over New York City mandating the rest of its public sector workers to get vaccinated, including agencies where vaccination rates are lower. There are some key New York City agencies with low vaccination rates, in some cases in the 60%-70% range. The police department and the fire department are among the agencies with low vaccination rates, at least as of a couple of weeks ago (when I see the most recent data from).[1] I am guessing that most workers, when faced with the choice between a paycheck and no paycheck (because these workers who don’t get vaccinated will end up on unpaid leave), will decide to get vaccinated, if grudgingly (and in some cases, perhaps even angrily) so. We’ll see if I’m right when this mandate is scheduled to go into effect one week from tomorrow.

Speaking of the low vaccination rates among some New York City agencies, I think one thing I’m definitely reflecting on is the fact that some of the agencies with the lowest vaccination rates are also some of the agencies serving the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Among the ten agencies in my city with the lowest vaccination rates are the child welfare agency (the Administration for Children’s Services), the agency that deals with individuals experiencing homelessness (the Department of Homeless Services), the fire department, the agency responsible for overseeing public housing (the New York City Housing Authority), and the agency responsible for New York City’s prison population (the Department of Correction).[2] I wish that people in the media pick up on that fact, because it is definitely something interesting that I’ve noticed. I can’t help but wonder whether other cities are also seeing that agencies serving the most vulnerable also have the lowest vaccination rates. And if so, I can’t help but wonder why that is the case. Perhaps these musings can be the inspiration for a study from someone, some day.

On a different note, I must point out that where these ICU issues are happening seems to be in parts of the country where vaccination rates are lower. It is not as much of an issue in places like the New York City area, where 40% of ICU beds are still available.[3]

I should also follow up on something I talked about in last week’s blog post: holiday gatherings. My post last week noted that there were still real questions about what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance will be when it comes to holiday gatherings. This week, I can say that the CDC emphasizes the importance of good ventilation and vaccinations as the most important considerations in making sure you have a safe holiday season.[4] So, I guess the moral of all of this is for people who haven’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated.

That’s pretty much it from my part of the world. I’d be interested to hear how others are doing, though!


[1] https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/coronavirus/2021/10/20/mayor-to-announce-vaccine-mandate-for-all-city-workers

[2] https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/coronavirus/2021/10/20/mayor-to-announce-vaccine-mandate-for-all-city-workers

[3] https://covidactnow.org/us/metro/new-york-city-newark-jersey-city_ny-nj-pa/?s=24431357

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/celebrations.html

Coronavirus Update From New York City: October 7, 2021

I hope all of my readers are healthy and safe, regardless of where you are.

I should start with a piece of good news, which is that both of my parents have now received a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine! Both of them were eligible for the booster shot, and both of them got it just yesterday. They both reported that getting the booster shot was a very quick process, as they encountered no lines. I can’t help but wonder if others are having that same experience, or if there are areas where there seems to be significant enthusiasm about getting the booster (for those who are eligible, of course).

Speaking of eligibility, I haven’t said anything about my getting a booster shot because I’m not eligible. The eligibility issue boils down to one fact: I got the Moderna vaccine, not the Pfizer. As soon as booster shots are authorized for the Moderna vaccine (assuming the Moderna booster shot does get authorized), and as soon as I am eligible for it (something I’m guessing will happen relatively quickly because of my being overweight), I look forward to getting one.

Speaking of vaccinations, the vaccine mandates are now in full effect for teachers and staff in New York City’s public school system. For all the panic over potentially not having the necessary substitute teachers in order to cover unvaccinated teachers on leave, there are 9,000 vaccinated substitute teachers[1] on hand to fill the slots of only a few thousand teachers who didn’t get their first shots by last Friday’s deadline.[2] At least in the New York City schools, life can, and does, go on without the steadfastly unvaccinated.

The numbers I’ve seen seem to indicate that there was a jump in vaccinations as the vaccine mandates came into effect for public school staff. In a matter of just three days, we went from having 90% of school staffers vaccinated[3] to 95% of school staffers vaccinated here in New York City.[4] Considering the jump in vaccinations when there were vaccine mandates for school employees, I can see why the city is now seriously considering mandates for some other groups of New York City employees, including firefighters and police officers. However, I can’t help but wonder what will happen in places where certain firefighters and police officers refuse to get vaccinated, because unless there’s something I’m missing, it’s not like there are substitute firefighters and police officers (unless we were to somehow get National Guard involved here as National Guard have been prepared to take the place of unvaccinated health care workers in New York). Though, perhaps I am wrong and someone can inform me. And perhaps there’s a lot more that needs to be hashed out with this potential vaccine mandate for police officers and firefighters.

Another piece of good news is that the rate at which the virus is spreading seems to be slowing where I live.[5] It’s promising news, and hopefully it is a trend that will continue where I am over the coming weeks. As far as I am concerned, the next potential hurdle to get through with this virus is Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November, for those of my readers who aren’t from the United States), as that is a holiday where there tends to be major family gatherings. However, I certainly hope that we will be in good shape with COVID before then, and that the holiday won’t do too much to set us back with the virus.

There continues to be about 40% of ICU beds available in the New York City area.[6] I continue to remain immensely grateful that I do not live in a part of the United States, or the world, where it is difficult for patients who need ICU beds to get them. I’ve been hearing reports on the news that the state of Alaska is the latest place to go through these difficulties. That being said, I keep on reminding myself that what some of these places are going through now was what my part of the world went through in March and April of 2020.

That is pretty much the update from where I’m living. I’m happy to hear updates from others!


[1] https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2021/10/02/new-york-city-teachers-and-staff-face-5-p-m-vaccine-deadline-but-legal-battle-continues/

[2] https://www.silive.com/education/2021/10/amid-coronavirus-vaccine-mandate-nyc-needs-3700-substitute-teachers-report-says.html

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2021/10/01/90-of-nyc-school-employees-vaccinated-ahead-of-mandate-taking-effect-de-blasio-says/?sh=6912d39176b5

[4] https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-new-york-education-new-york-city-bc516b3c5012bd31e8f9a83cb06de18f

[5] https://covidactnow.org/us/new_york-ny/county/new_york_county/?s=23891301

[6] Ibid.

Coronavirus Update From New York City: September 16, 2021

I hope that all of my readers are healthy and safe, regardless of where you live.

Public schools in New York City started back last Monday. With the start of public schools again came the start of mass transit that in some places is as crowded, if not more so, as it was before the pandemic. Between schools starting back and the crew shortages on some bus and train lines in New York (I’m suspecting that it’s because a lot of mass transit workers are getting hit with COVID, though I could be wrong), I’ve experienced some very crowded buses in particular (and busy trains, albeit not quite as crowded as some buses I’ve been on). I’m hoping that this doesn’t result in our having another wave of this pandemic, but we will see. Over the past several weeks, I haven’t been particularly optimistic because all school kids under 12 cannot get vaccinated and therefore are potentially extremely vulnerable. In the next couple of weeks, we may see whether I was right to be pessimistic.

Even if my pessimism is correct, at least we continue to have a decent number of ICU beds available in the New York City area–over 4 in 10 of them.[1] Some other parts of the country are not so lucky, as Idaho is now rationing health care,[2] and so is Alaska’s largest hospital.[3] I say this because while we are not in an ideal situation in New York City, at least in my humble opinion, we are in a situation nowhere near as bad as some other parts of the country. Actually, I’m sensing that some other parts of the country may be experiencing now what people in New York City went through in March 2020.

There have been significant debates over vaccine mandates in my city, and nationwide. In fact, as some American readers know, the subject of vaccine mandates (along with COVID restrictions in general) was at the center of a recall election in California where Republicans were hoping to oust Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. As such, I will give my two cents on such mandates…

There are numerous vaccines that are mandated for the simplest things, such as attending school. Take Nebraska for example, a state where its own governor was grilled on by Chris Wallace on Fox News for not mandating COVID vaccines even while other vaccines are mandated. That state requires vaccinations for things like hepatitis B, chickenpox, and polio.[4] Such mandates have been constitutional before, and in fact there is Supreme Court precedence for said mandates,[5] so arguments that mandates are infringing upon the liberties of people just doesn’t hold constitutional muster from what I have read.

All that being said, if one believes that the COVID vaccines are effective, just as vaccines against those other aforementioned diseases are effective, I honestly then struggle to understand why some leaders are not doing everything they can to make sure that every single person who can get vaccinated does get vaccinated. Especially with lives at stake here, I am a believer that we should do everything in our power to save as many lives as possible. People’s lives depend on it. And frankly, with how the pandemic has affected the economy, both in the United States and globally, people’s livelihoods depend on it too.

Enough of my lecturing, though. I’m curious to hear how others are doing!


[1] https://covidactnow.org/us/metro/new-york-city-newark-jersey-city_ny-nj-pa/?s=22991219

[2] https://apnews.com/article/business-health-public-health-coronavirus-pandemic-idaho-db21f9a14254996144e78aafb1518259

[3] https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-09-14/latest-second-chinese-city-sees-outbreak-of-delta-variant

[4] https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/School-Immunization.aspx

[5] https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/08/vaccine-mandate-strong-supreme-court-precedent-510280