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COVID Newsletters

COVID weekly newsletter (4/22)

Friends,

It’s Thursday, April 22, 2021. Welcome to my weekly COVID-19 newsletter, and happy Earth Day.

Here are the bullets for NYC according to nonprofit news site TheCity.nyc’s COVID-19 tracker, the New York State COVID testing dashboard, and the NYC Dept. of Health:

Manhattan:

  • 133,042 cumulative confirmed cases (+2,658 since last week)

  • 4,342 cumulative deaths (+36 since last week)

  • 1.9% seven-day positivity average (down from 2.1% last week)

  • 279,342 adults (20%) partially vaccinated

  • 544,717 adults (39%) fully vaccinated

NYC:

  • 898,138 total cases (+18,752 since last week)

  • 32,200 total deaths (+243 since last week)

  • 4.54% seven-day positivity average (down from 5.26% last week and the first time the rate has dropped below 5% since November)

  • 1,090,525 adults (17%) partially vaccinated

  • 2,127,164 adults (32%) fully vaccinated

The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s weekly “reference scenario” estimates 50,690 more deaths nationwide by August 1 (a projected cumulative total of 618,275), falling slightly from last week’s projection of 618,523 total deaths in the same time period.

All Americans 16+ are now eligible to get vaccinated, so tell your friends and family in other states. Meanwhile in New York City, getting a vaccine is getting easier– but it’s far from streamlined. I’ve compiled this checklist (also accessible on my website) to help you know about every possible option.

  • All New Yorkers 50+ and a companion can walk into these seven City-run sites and get vaccinated on the spot (no appointment necessary). There are walk-in sites in the Lower East Side, Chelsea, Times Square, East Midtown, Harlem, and Washington Heights.

  • Use the NYC COVID Vaccine Finder.

  • Check availability on NYC Vaccine List or TurboVax, which aggregate open appointments at many federal, State, City, pharmacy, and private sites.

  • Call the NYC vaccine hotline (877-VAX-4NYC or 877-829-4692), 8 am – 9 pm.

  • Contact providers listed in the NYS eligibility survey.

  • Call the NYS vaccine hotline (833-NYS-4VAX or 833-697-4829).

  • In-home vaccinations have resumed for people who are fully homebound, using the two-dose Moderna vaccine (instead of the currently paused Johnson & Johnson vaccine). “Fully homebound” means someone who can’t leave their unit, even with assistance. To request an in-home vaccination, fill out this form or call 877-829-4692. (This doesn’t guarantee an appointment; FDNY personnel will call to confirm eligibility.) On that call, household members (family and home health aides) can also request to be vaccinated during the in-home appointment.

  • Check hospital networks: Northwell HealthNYU Langone (for current patients only and must create a MyChart account to be notified about an appointment); Hospital for Special SurgeryFort Washington Armory (216 Fort Washington Ave.), run by NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine (create a Connect account or walk in Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7 am – 4 pm).

  • Check SOMOS vaccine sites.

  • Check pharmacies: CVS (800-SHOP-CVS), Walgreens (800-WALGREENS), RiteAid (800-RITE-AID), and the East Harlem Costco.

  • Contact your medical provider or local pharmacy.

  • The following sites offer the two-shot Moderna vaccine to NYCHA residents only, Thursdays-Sundays, 8 am – 6 pm (walk in or call 332-240-3330 to make an appointment, and bring proof of NYCHA residency): Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Ave. btwn 112th and 115th Sts., until 6/20); St. Nicholas/Central Harlem Senior Citizens Center (210 W. 131st St., until 5/2); Gompers Community Center (80 Pitt St., until 5/23), Douglass Senior Center (868 Amsterdam Ave. btwn 102nd and 103rd Sts., until 5/2), and Rutgers Community Center (200 Madison St.). If you had previously scheduled an appointment for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at these sites, it will now be replaced with Moderna, per the current nationwide pause on the J&J vaccine.

  • If you need help making an appointment, contact Junior Martinez in my office at 212-531-1609 or juniormartinez@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

Starting Friday (4/23), New Yorkers 60+ can walk into any State-run mass vaccination site (Manhattan’s is the Javits Center, 429 11th Ave.), no appointment needed, according to the Governor.

Get vaccinated and free museum admission at the American Museum of Natural History (200 Central Park West). Beginning Friday (4/23), the museum will operate as a vaccine site Fridays-Tuesdays, 8 am – 6 pm and offer the Moderna vaccine (so 18+ only). The site is open to the public, and appointments will be set aside for NYCHA residents and staff and DC37 members. Make an appointment here. Everyone who gets vaccinated at the museum will get a free voucher for a future visit for up to four people.

Restaurant workers 18+ can get vaccinated this Friday and Saturday (4/23-24) at 158 Worth St. in the City’s mobile vaccine bus. Register here or just walk up to the bus (and note that your second dose will be 28 days later at the same location).

Walk-in vaccine spots are available at the Fort Washington Armory (216 Fort Washington Ave.), Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7 am – 4 pm (18+ only).

East Harlem’s Boriken Neighborhood Health Center operates a vaccine clinic (18+) at the Taino Towers gym (240 E. 123rd St.) Mondays (9 am – 5 pm), Wednesdays (10 am – 6 pm), and Fridays (9 am – 5 pm). Call 917-843-0525 to make an appointment. Boriken also offers vaccinations Saturdays (9 am – 3 pm) at their center (2265 3rd Ave. & E. 123rd St.).

Theater, film, and television workers are prioritized at the vaccine site at 20 Times Square (47th St. and 7th Ave.), listed as ATC Vaccination Times Square on Vaccine Finder. Though open to the public (with walk-ins for 50+), the site is targeted to the entertainment industry, open daily 7:30 am – 7 pm. Call 877-829-4692 for an appointment; the Actors Fund is helping schedule appointments (call 917-281-5937 or email vaccines@actorsfund.org); and musicians’ Union 802 is helping their members make appointments.

Saturday and Sunday (4/24-25) from 8 am – 6 pm, there will be a vaccine site at the Consulate of Mexico (27 E. 39th St.) with walk-in spots available. The site uses Moderna, so 18+ only.

Get help making a vaccine appointment through the Neighbor Network’s Vaccine Navigators. Fill out this form or call 646-470-8259 (leave a message with your name and number). The Neighbor Network is also seeking more volunteer Vaccine Navigators. Learn more here.

There’s mixed news on the vaccine front. Over 200 million vaccine doses have been administered, and more than half of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the CDC COVID Data Tracker (which, to be clear, doesn’t mean half the adults in any given locality have been vaccinated– check this state-specific vaccination tracker here). But COVID cases are rising– the U.S. currently averages 71,000 new cases per day, up from 55,000 last month– and those who are refusing to consider getting vaccinated are now the barrier to achieving herd immunity. That’s why there may soon be more vaccine doses than there are those seeking doses; last week, vaccinations were down 11% as the J&J pause kicked in and demand at centralized sites dropped.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the FDA and CDC are likely to decide tomorrow (4/23) about the path forward for the J&J vaccine, as the European Union restarted the J&J doses with a safety warning for women. But in something of a testament to vaccines, it’s been 75 days since a member of Congress announced a positive test result for the coronavirus– a record length of time since the pandemic began.

Forty percent of new cases worldwide are coming from India, even as vaccinations are increasing in wealthy parts of the world; 312,731 new infections were reported there in a single 24-hour period by India’s Health Ministry Thursday (4/22), the highest daily case count in the world since the pandemic began, exceeding the previous high of 300,669 in the U.S. on January 8, 2021.

This week, my Manhattan Recovery Task Force welcomed “Recovery Czar” Lorraine Grillo and Kristin Morse of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School. Ms. Grillo noted that two of the most important keys to a full recovery are widespread vaccination and schools reopening full time, the latter of which she said will likely happen come September. Ms. Morse spoke about the long and lopsided recovery NYC is facing.

Anyone without health insurance is entitled to free COVID testing, treatment, and vaccines (COVID vaccines are free to everyone regardless of insurance status). This flyer (Spanish version) from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services outlines what to do if you’ve been charged for COVID services and are uninsured.

If you are uninsured, there are still a few weeks left to sign up for Obamacare/ACA health insurance (the deadline is Saturday, 5/15). There are new subsidies included in the American Rescue Plan that make Obamacare more affordable than ever. Apply through the New York State marketplace or directly through insurers. If you have questions, make an appointment with a local marketplace navigator, who can help individuals, families, and small businesses choose an affordable plan.

Community-based organizations or M/WBE certified owned businesses are invited to submit a request for information to become TRIE Neighborhood Coordinators with the City’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion & Equity. Neighborhood Coordinators will promote a stronger recovery for the 33 neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID, focusing on vaccine and contact tracing education, community resource mapping, and service coordination.

The Manhattan neighborhoods eligible for funding are the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, Central Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood. Click here for more details and information on submissions, which will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Tuesday (4/27) at 5 pm, virtual panel “Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine: The Science and Regulatory Backstory” features experts in a discussion of how the Pfizer vaccine came to be, including its efficacy and FDA approval, and its rollout, including equity, hesitancy, and scams. Click the title to register for the Zoom, hosted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The MTA’s subway map now displays vaccine sites and appointment links.

In this video, City leaders talk about what getting the vaccine means to them.

Low-risk, indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment venues– including museums, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens– can increase to 50% capacity starting Monday (4/26), according to the Governor. That day, movie theaters can increase to 33% capacity.

Free walk-in COVID self-testing is available at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Ave. at 112th St.) Friday, 4/23 (9:30 am – 3 pm) and this weekend, 4/24-25 (9:30 am – 5 pm). Results are sent via email within 72 hours.

Through Sunday (4/25) from 8 am – 7 pm, free walk-in COVID testing is available at 97 Canal St. (corner of Forsyth St.). Get a free tube of hand sanitizer after you get tested.

Monday (4/26) from 9 am – 4:30 pm, free COVID testing is available at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ (132 W. 116th St.). Call 212 866-0301 ext. 117 to make a testing appointment or just walk in. The church can also help make vaccine appointments. The first 100 people tested will receive a free bag of groceries.

The US Dept. of Agriculture has announced it will extend universal free lunch through the 2021-2022 school year “to reach more of the estimated 12 million youths experiencing food insecurity.”

COVID News Clippings 

U.S. could have 300 million extra vaccine doses by end of July, raising concerns about hoarding
By Adam Taylor and Emily Rauhala, Washington Post, April 15, 2021

Yes, you can be vaccinated and still get Covid-19. But don’t panic.
By Brian Resnick, vox.com, April 15, 2021

Annual vaccinations may be needed to fight virus variants
By Erin Cunningham, Washington Post, April 16, 2021

Vaccinated travelers should still avoid eating and drinking on planes, experts say
Health experts feel fairly safe flying. That changes when eating and drinking are introduced.
By Natalie B. Compton, Washington Post, April 16, 2021

U.S. to spend $1.7 billion to detect, monitor coronavirus variants
By Tyler Pager and Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, April 16, 2021

How Safe Are You From COVID When You Fly?
To understand the risks of boarding a flight, start with how air circulates in a plane.
By Mika Gröndahl, Tariro Mzezewa, Or Fleisher, and Jeremy White, NY Times Interactive, April 17, 2021

All about your coronavirus vaccine card (and what to do if you lose it)
By Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, April 17, 2021

The race to untangle the secrets of rare, severe blood clots after Johnson & Johnson vaccination
Decades of research on rare immune reactions to a blood thinner provide a blueprint for how to move forward
By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Washington Post, April 19, 2021

The pandemic gave parents the chance to work from home. Now they don’t want to give it up.
By Ellen McCarthy, Washington Post, April 19, 2021

The state worst hit by the pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.
By Felix Salmon, axios.com, April 19, 2021

We know a lot about Covid-19. Experts have many more questions.
STAT was curious which questions topped scientists’ lists. So, we asked a bunch.
By Helen Branswell, statnews.com,  April 20, 2021

Antibody rates among Black and Hispanic New Yorkers are double those of others, new estimates show.
By Joseph Goldstein and Bryan Pietsch, NY Times, April 21, 2021

Baltimore plant with contaminated Johnson & Johnson vaccines had multiple failures, unsanitary conditions, FDA says
Inspection report finds serious problems at Emergent BioSolutions, which has been told to stop manufacturing vaccine pending reviews
By Christopher Rowland, Washington Post, April 21, 2021

The government doesn’t seem to have a solution to the vaccine’s new last-mile problem
By Philip Bump, Washington Post, April 21, 2021