Covid-19 is rising once more in New York. Can the town stop one other enhance? | new York
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It seemed inconceivable: months after Covid-19 killed thousands of New Yorkers, the city and state finally seemed to get the virus under control. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths plummeted here and in neighboring regions, while increasing elsewhere in the US.
Even as more and more non-essential businesses reopened and large-scale demonstrations brought together thousands of New Yorkers outdoors, rates stayed broadly unchanged that summer – they were around 1%. So promising was this advance that on September 30th, limited capacity indoor dining returned to New York City.
But six weeks later, that cautious optimism was overtaken by deep concern and anxiety, and test positivity rates rose. After almost being banned, the pandemic is knocking on the city gates again. New York’s 7-day average of positive Covid-19 tests rose to 2.6% on November 11. There are 870 new cases and 100 new hospitalizations, Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
“Today’s indicators are sobering,” said the mayor on Twitter. “We still have the chance to change that. Each of us has a role to play. Let’s pull it off. “
“We need New Yorkers to do their part,” said Andrew Cuomo, the governor, on Twitter on Wednesday. “Wear a mask. Get tested. Follow all health guidelines. Take this seriously.”
To fend off a devastating wave, officials have begun to reverse some of the reopenings. Many New Yorkers wonder if more dramatic lockdowns loom and the city’s parents fear school closings.
Social Distancing Bubble Dining tents on the rooftop of a restaurant in New York City this week. Photo: Gabriela Bhaskar / Bloomberg / Getty Images
Cuomo announced a series of statewide restrictions on Wednesday that will begin at 10 p.m. on Friday. Indoor gatherings in private homes are limited to 10 people. Gyms and state-licensed bars and restaurants must close at 10 p.m. Most of Staten Island, which has the highest 7-day positive rate of any New York borough, has additional restrictions, according to the New York Times, such as: B. Limiting the capacity of places of worship to 50%.
The most dramatic departure from New York’s new normal: officials appear ready to shut down all public classrooms, multiple reports say. De Blasio has stated that he would close them if the city’s seven-day positivity rate exceeded 3%. The newspaper reported that this could happen before Thanksgiving. Although the infection rate for schools is 0.17%, the Times report notes it.
“This is something that nobody wants to see. I don’t want this to happen but there is of course still an opportunity to turn things around, “said De Blasio.” But we are preparing for this possibility. “
The public school system in New York City, with 1.1 million students, currently has about 300,000 students in classrooms, according to the New York Times. While most parents have chosen to have their children take distance learning, about 25% do a mix of in-person and distance learning, the newspaper reported.
Ngozi Ebinum, who lives in the Bronx and has three children in the New York City public school system, said the hybrid class is already problematic for her children and she is concerned about a complete end of class. She had repeated problems with laptop connectivity and navigating online learning platforms.
“I want them to go to school because this house is not working at all,” she said. “It’s kind of chaos and crazy. You have to do something. It is difficult for us to connect. It doesn’t work for us. “
Instructor Chaya Baras is helping 19-year-old student Kenny Scottborough at West Brooklyn Community High School. Photo: Kathy Willens / AP
“Please don’t close the schools,” she said when asked what she would say to the mayor on the matter. “Whatever they do [during] They should find out about the pandemic because we are suffering here. “
Brooklyn-based Ethan Lichtle, who works in retail, sees the economic challenges that a resurgence and possible closure of the city will bring.
“I think it’s definitely going to hurt small businesses and restaurants even more than what it already has,” he said. “We all have problems and we are all trying to get through, especially during the holidays.”
“You want to be excited about the holidays. I am originally from Indiana and would love to visit my parents and family. I haven’t seen her in nine months, ”said Lichtle, who drives to Manhattan every day to avoid the subway. “It’s difficult. But I would prefer everyone to stay safe and at home if that means we can get rid of the virus.”
Alan Kaufman, who owns The Pickle Guys in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, fears a deteriorating situation could put his business at risk.
“Right now my business has failed, it must have shrunk by at least 45%,” Kaufman said of his pickle shop, saying he has had to lay off several employees since the pandemic. Many walk-in customers no longer come by. His wholesale business with restaurants and hotels is “almost done”.
Diller, the restaurant next door that Kaufman also owns, is doing worse, he said. “We’re trying to keep going. We do what we can.
“Pickles have been in this area since 1910, it’s like being in a living museum.” Kaufman said “the actual cucumber recipes are the same” as they were when Jews from Poland came to the US to avoid persecution.
“You would lose a bit of history from nostalgia,” he added.
A picture of Joe Biden on a screen in Times Square this week. Photo: Michael Nagle / Bloomberg / Getty Images
While a surge in Covid-19 positivity rates is of serious concern, several public health experts said it doesn’t mean it’s too late for New York City.
“I don’t think we’re at a point of no return,” said Dr. Jessica Justman, Senior Technical Director at ICAP and Associate Professor of Medicine in Epidemiology at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.
She pointed out the new steps to contain the coronavirus and the high level of mask compliance in the New York City area – and pointed out that “there is still room for improvement [with masks] that would really help moderate the coming surge. “
“I don’t think we will have the same experiences that we had in April. We have so much more knowledge. We have much better testing capacities. We have a whole data system to keep track of everything so closely, ”she explained.
“We don’t have to lock immediately. We can take these more modulated steps, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. I believe our public health system is using the very good data we need to set the dial. “
“The testing percentage in New York City is now in the 2.5% range,” she also said. “If we saw that go up to 5%, I would be really worried.”
In theory, public health officials should be able to act quickly and purposefully to stay below the 5% level.
Brian Labus, epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Public Health, had similar views.
“I don’t think it’s ever too late. There is always something we can do to stop disease transmission. We’re dealing with disease spreading exponentially, ”said Labus, who is a member of the Nevada state task force to deliberate on scientific elements of the pandemic. “The longer we wait to take action, the harder it becomes to control them.”
Labus also pointed out the 5% threshold, saying, “If you stay below 5% it shows that you have effective control over the disease [in] a specific area. “
“If New York takes action now, it will keep them from getting to that point.”