- Gale Brewer - https://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov -

COVID weekly newsletter (4/29)


It’s Thursday, April 29, 2021. Welcome to my weekly COVID-19 newsletter.

Here are the bullets for NYC according to nonprofit news site TheCity.nyc’s COVID-19 tracker [1], the New York State COVID testing dashboard [2], and the NYC Dept. of Health [3]:



The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s weekly “reference scenario [4]” estimates 31,392 more deaths nationwide by August 1 (a projected cumulative total of 602,723), falling by more than 15,000 from last week’s projection.

Nate Silver tweeted [5], “Given how much was written about a relatively modest increase in COVID cases in the US a month or so ago, there should probably be more coverage of the ~20% decline over the past two weeks, which reflects the power of the vaccines among other things,” and Axios, seemingly in response, this morning reports [6]: “New COVID infections fell by roughly 16% over the past week in the U.S. — a big improvement after weeks of stasis [7]… The U.S. averaged about 55,000 new cases per day over the past week, down from about 66,000 per day the week before… The number of new infections declined in 26 states and rose in only four.”

The FDA lifted the pause [8] on the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, following concerns over very rare but serious blood clots. J&J is back at sites in NYC, though some may first exhaust their two-dose Pfizer and Moderna supplies before switching back to J&J.

NYC plans to fully reopen by July 1 [9] with no capacity restrictions on businesses, entertainment venues, and offices, according to the Mayor this morning (4/29). (And yet, the City still refuses to allow senior centers to reopen outdoors or indoors, even at the same capacity of restaurants– even though most seniors are now vaccinated.)

All City-run and State mass vaccination sites now accept walk-ins for anyone 16+. I’ve compiled this checklist (also accessible on my website [10]) to help you know about every possible option.

Sunday (5/2) from 9 am – 4:30 pm, there will be an additional vaccine clinic at NYCHA Douglass Houses (830 Columbus Ave.), run by the State and administered by SOMOS. The site will use the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, so 16+. Make an appointment here [28].

Saturday and Sunday (5/1-2) from 10 am – 4 pm, two-dose Pfizer vaccine appointments are available at the Broadway Housing Communities Sugar Hill Apartments pop-up [29] (898 St. Nicholas Ave., enter on 155th St.), open to any NYS resident 16+. Make an appointment here [30].

Community Healthcare Network [31] operates two Manhattan vaccine sites, walk-ins welcome or click the hyperlinked names to schedule an appointment:

This flyer [34] lists East Harlem vaccine sites (Spanish version here [35]).

During my weekly Manhattan Vaccine Task Force meeting, representatives from CUNY and Columbia University spoke about the schools’ efforts to vaccinate students, faculty, and staff. Many CUNY locations are vaccine sites open to the public, promoted in the #VaxUpCUNY [36] campaign. All Columbia students will be required to be vaccinated starting this fall semester, while CUNY has not yet made a determination.

We then heard from several senior center administrators about why the City should allow outdoor senior center programming and work on a plan toward fully reopening senior centers. If you’d like to join these weekly task force discussions about vaccines and reopening, email info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov [37].

The City strongly encourages all health providers to recommend that their patients get vaccinated. Providers who want to find out more, including tools to have these conversations, visit nyc.gov/VaccineTalks [38].

If you’re 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 [39] or directly through insurers. If you have questions, make an appointment with a local marketplace navigator [40], who can help individuals, families, and small businesses choose an affordable plan.

Important news for restaurants impacted by the COVID pandemic. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, passed as part of the American Rescue Plan [41] in March, will begin accepting applications THIS Monday (5/3).

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration: “This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location.” Any PPP payments made last year will be deducted from the total grant amounts.

The key facts:
–This $28.6 billion fund is FIRST-COME, FIRST SERVED;
–$5 billion of the total fund will be distributed only to businesses with gross receipts of $500,000 or less in calendar year 2019;
–Chains of over 20 locations are ineligible.

So if you’re a restaurant owner and haven’t already, spend the next few days researching what documentation you’ll need to apply on Monday; you can begin registering for the grant application portal tomorrow, Friday (4/30), and applications will open at noon EST on Monday (5/3). Here’s the link to the SBA’s RRF information page [42], including a sample application [43].

COVID News Clippings 

Vaccines Are Effective Against the New York Variant, Studies Find [44]
By Apoorva Mandavilli, NY Times, April 22, 2021

People With Severe COVID-19 Have Higher Risk Of Long-Term Effects, Study Finds [45]
Laurel Wamsley, npr.com, April 22, 2021

Japan Declares 3rd State Of Emergency, 3 Months Ahead Of Olympics [46]
Bill Chappell, npr.com, April 23, 2021

CDC recommends pregnant women get coronavirus vaccine [47]
By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, April 23, 2021

A nasty pandemic problem: More flushed wipes are clogging pipes, sending sewage into homes [48]
By Katherine Shaver, Washington Post, April 23, 2021

Kids need less academic pressure and more support after a year of isolation and learning losses [49]
By Kelly Glass, Washington Post, April 23, 2021

‘Excess Deaths’ in 2020 Surpassed Those of 1918 Flu Pandemic [50]
By Denise Lu, NY Times, April 23, 2021

Homebound and Waiting: Vaccine Push Misses Some Older New Yorkers [51]
By Sharon Otterman, NY Times, April 23, 2021

It’s nearly summer camp season. Here’s the latest guidance to keep kids safe from the coronavirus. [52]
By Reis Thebault, Washington Post, April 25, 2021

‘This Is a Catastrophe.’ In India, Illness Is Everywhere. [53]
A new variant known here as “the double mutant” may be doing a lot of the damage… this variant contains one mutation that may make the virus more contagious and another that may make it partially resistant to vaccines. Doctors are pretty scared. Some we have spoken to said they had been vaccinated twice and still got seriously ill, a very bad sign.
By Jeffrey Gettleman, NY Times, April 27, 2021

As Covid sweeps India, experts say cases and deaths are going unreported [54]
By Jessie Yeung, CNN, April 27, 2021

C.D.C. Eases Outdoor Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Americans [55]
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Roni Caryn Rabin, NY Times, April 27, 2021

When do we have to wear a mask outside? The C.D.C. says less often, and here’s how and why. [56]
NY Times, April 27, 2021

Social distancing indoors may provide ‘false sense of security,’ Covid transmission study finds [57]
“Efficient mask use is the most effective safety measure, followed by room ventilation, then filtration,” one of the study authors said.
By Kim Bellware, Washington Post, April 27, 2021

No more ‘Cuomo chips.’ New York’s legislature will suspend a rule that required food to be ordered with alcohol. [58]
By Luis Ferré-Sadurní, NY Times, April 27, 2021

U.S. pharmacies are told to offer second vaccine doses to people who got first shots elsewhere. [59]
NY Times, April 27, 2021

The CDC Is Still Repeating Its Mistakes [60]
The agency’s new guidelines are too timid and too complicated.
By Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, April 28, 2021

How Pfizer Makes Its Covid-19 Vaccine [61]
By Emma Cott, Elliot deBruyn, and Jonathan Corum, NY Times Interactive, April 28, 2021