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June 17, 2020

Bar Scene Crowds and NO MASKS

Bar Scene:  New York City residents worked very hard and stayed at home for 100 days before we could begin to reopen in Phase 1.  Our 5 boroughs were the epicenter of Covid-19 in the US and in mid-April we had over 118,000 cases with over 7800 new cases in one day and almost 11,000 total deaths.  During those days more than 500 people were dying each day.  Yesterday NYC had only 332 new cases and 21 deaths (Gothamist Stats). 

At the peak of the infections, there were few cars on the streets and even fewer people on the streets.  That is why many of us are very upset about the behavior of those who chose to celebrate every evening in large groups in front of bars and in the street.  There were no masks to be seen, and no one was more than 1-2 feet apart.  PARTY TIME. 

Phase 1 reopening was June 8th - and it didn't include bar parties.   Residents are supposed to wear masks outdoors.  Only 1.2% of NYC residents had positive tests yesterday in a random sample of the virus in as many as 28,000 residents.  The testing will be done daily, and as soon as positive tests start to increase, the reopening "will be dialed back" per Governor Cuomo.  The party groups across the City appear to not understand the concept of "deferred gratification."

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June 13, 2020

Fighting the Coronavirus

New York City (NYC) is ending the first week in our Phase 1 reopening.  My husband and I both walked with social distancing and masks, which felt really good.  Each day the Government goal was to test 35,000 people in NYC and there were only 1.2% positive virus cases in Manhattan from Thursday.  Governor Cuomo, right from March, planned to reduce the number of cases based on CDC guidelines and consultation with other epidemiologists, and only then to begin Phase 1 reopening, by regions, across the state. If the numbers increase, we will be held in this phase until the number of cases drops again - or go back to partial shutdown. 

The Rt (rate of transmission) was 0.77, which means that each infected person is infecting <1 other person.  An Rt above 1.2 will mean one person is infecting more than one other person and it could be the beginning of another surge.  We've been there and don't want to do that again.  Last Sunday NY State had 2% positive cases (~50,000 tests), and yesterday it was 1.5%.  Each region has an army of trackers and a tracker contacts each positive patient, for quarantine.  Their contacts are then traced, tested, and asked to begin quarantine. I look at the increasing number of cases in other states and don't want to be there again. 

I think we can now be sure that the coronavirus will be with us for months or until we have a vaccine and robust vaccination program.  Test-Track-Quarantine is a new concept for me, but every epidemiologist says that is the only way to control a pandemic.  New Knowledge for this old MD!

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June 10, 2020

To The Light

NYC entered Phase 1 of Reopening on Monday and I planned my brief escape for a morning walk in my neighborhood - of course wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.  400,000 New York City workers were returning to jobs in manufacturing and construction - with guidelines for worker protection outlined for companies.  In addition retail stores were open for sidewalk pickup.  I walked up one Avenue and down the next for a total of 1+ miles.  I saw people walking dogs, early morning walkers, a few people who looked like they were going back to work - about 100 people in all.  Almost everyone had on masks.  But I also saw runners - who rarely wore a mask, and were running in the middle of the sidewalk, refusing to move to the side. 

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Yesterday my husband and I went to Central Park and saw our daughter, one son, my daughter-in-law, and 6 of our grandkids - with 3 blankets each separated by 6 feet.  It was delightful, after months of phone calls, ZOOM, and FaceTime.  Onward....

 

 

 

 

June 6, 2020

Spread of Coronavirus

I was a college and medical student during the civil rights era and spent my medical career working with patients from underserved communities.  If I believed that I could protect myself and my husband from the coronavirus I would be out there protesting and marching with everyone.  I listened to Mario Cuomo's 1984 Democratic Convention speech several days ago (The Tale of Two Cities-You Tube) and it is frightening how little progress has been made since then. 

To the protesters:  Wear your masks - even though cloth masks are primarily protecting you against other people.  Social distance (>6 feet) as much as possible - this is critical.  Wash your hands or sanitize them frequently.  And don't touch your mask, face, nose, or eyes.  See link below the image for good mask information.

Since police don't seem to be wearing masks - avoid them as much as possible - 6 feet or more!!  My masked person today is faced with 3 different size coronaviruses.  Large droplets from coughing or sneezing will drop to surfaces.  Medium size coronaviruses will eventually drop, but it may take longer.  The small coronaviruses can be exhaled or released during normal speech and increase in number when using a loud voice.  There are scientific studies that demonstrate this using aerosolized particles.  Stay healthy.

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Face Mask for Coronavirus: Types, Best Filters, How to Make.  

https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-face-masks  

June 3, 2020

SCARED

New York City is "reopening" on June 8th.  This was excellent news! Our "stay at home" shut down on March 22nd was associated with a big surge in Covid-19 cases, a peak, and then a slow decrease to meet the strict guidelines for our reopening.  Now added to the fear of many new cases in the Phase 1 reopening, there are peaceful protest marches for social justice of 1000s of people every day, with a separate group that is believed to arrive after dark in order to loot high end stores.  An 8PM curfew was set for the rest of this week, and looters are being arrested. 

Governor Cuomo was amazing during these months, and like lots of people across the US, we watched his daily briefing every day.  He used science and data to accomplish so much.  Now we are hoping that we won't have a separate peak of Coronavirus infections after so many mass gatherings.   Only 2% of virus tests are currently positive in NY- with 40,000 tests per day.  The low level of community infection, wearing masks, and marching outside may reduce the chance of a second wave after the protests.  In our age range, the fatality rate in NY is calculated at 44% and the chances of getting off a respirator is <20%.  Those statistics make me scared to reenter the world - even with a mask and gloves, and social distancing for a brisk daily walk in our neighborhood.  Looking forward to June 8th, with anxiety! 

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The figures were drawn on a quarter sheet of copy paper, painted with watercolor paints, and collaged onto a background sheet made on a Gelli Arts plate. 

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