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COVID Newsletters

COVID weekly newsletter (5/13)

Friends,

It’s Thursday, May 13, 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, the New York State COVID testing dashboard, and the NYC Dept. of Health:

Manhattan:

  • 136,507 cumulative confirmed cases (+828 since last week)

  • 4,435 cumulative deaths (+29 since last week)

  • .7% seven-day positivity average (down from .9% last week)

  • 145,882 adults (11%) partially vaccinated

  • 778,138 adults (56%) fully vaccinated

NYC:

  • 924,993 total cases (+5,944 since last week)

  • 32,934 total deaths (+199 since last week)

  • 1.81% seven-day positivity average (down from 2.52% last week)

  • 743,022 adults (11%) partially vaccinated

  • 3,060,690 adults (46%) fully vaccinated

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults, and 46% of the total population, have received at least one vaccine shot; nearly 35% of the country is fully vaccinated. But the pace of first-dose vaccinations has fallen 60% in just the last month according to USA Today.

The number of confirmed infections nationwide is about 40,000 daily, down more than 40% from less than a month ago and one-fifth of what the country was facing at the start of the year; fewer than 700 deaths per day on average are reported, down from a peak of more than 3,300 in January.  The feared “fourth wave” has not materialized.

Every week we use the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates of future deaths, but a new study estimates that the actual death toll from COVID nationwide surpasses 900,000. The IHME counted excess deaths that occurred above and beyond the expected death count under normal circumstances. So now, their weekly “reference scenario” projects there will be a cumulative total of 948,859 U.S. COVID deaths by September 1.

The CDC yesterday (5/12) approved use of the Pfizer vaccine for teens age 12 to 15 with parental permission. This should help reopen schools and increase parental peace of mind. President Biden announced that more than 15,000 pharmacies nationwide will be ready to vaccinate this age group– and the first shot and second shot can be taken at different locations. Teens can walk up to these Pfizer locations.

David Leonhardt’s NY Times newsletter The Morning on Tuesday (5/11) debunked the CDC promoting a “statistic” about the rate of infection from outdoor interactions, which they declared to be 10% of all cases. “Saying that less than 10 percent of Covid transmission occurs outdoors is akin to saying that sharks attack fewer than 20,000 swimmers a year. (The actual worldwide number is around 150.) It’s both true and deceiving,” Leonhardt writes. “There is not a single documented Covid infection anywhere in the world from casual outdoor interactions, such as walking past someone on a street or eating at a nearby table.”

The CDC seems to have recognized reality and just today (5/13) eased public health guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID; those people may now stop wearing masks and observing social distance in most indoor and outdoor settings regardless of size. “The science is clear: If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” the CDC said.

How to Get Vaccinated: The Master List
All City-run sites and State mass vaccination sites now accept walk-ins for anyone (12+ or 18+ depending on the vaccine). I’ve compiled this checklist (also on this page on my website) to help you know about every possible option– all are free.

  • The Manhattan walk-in City sites are below (I’ve visited almost all of them). These sites will also give second doses to anyone who got their first shot elsewhere; bring your CDC vaccination card for the second dose.
    -Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 W. 138th St. | Tu-Sa, 9a-5p (12+)
    -American Museum of Natural History, 200 Central Park West | Fr-Tu, 9a-6p (12+)
    -Apicha Community Health Center, 400 Broadway | Tu-Fr, 10a-3p (18+)
    -ATC Vaccination Times Square/NFL Experience, 20 Times Square (7th Ave. & 47th St.) | Su-Sa, 7:30a-7p (12+)
    -Central Harlem Senior Citizens Center, 210 W. 131st St. | Th-Su, 8a-6p (18+)
    -Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, 158 Centre St., 3M | Mo-Fr, 9:30a-4:30p (18+)
    -Citi Vaccination Clinic, 45 Hubert St. | Tu-Th, 10a-4p (12+)
    -City College North Academic Center, 1549 Amsterdam Ave. | Th-Su, 10a-8p (18+)
    -Conrad Hotel, 255 Murray St. | Fr, 7a-4p (12+)
    -Convent Avenue Baptist Church, 420 W. 145th St. | Tu-We, 5:30-9:30p; Sa-Su, 9a-5:30p (12+)
    -Douglass Addition Senior Center, 868 Amsterdam Ave. | Th-Su, 8a-6p (18+)
    -East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc. Boriken Neighborhood Health Center, 240 E. 123rd St | call to find out when walk-ins are available, 917-843-0525 (18+)
    -Essex Crossing, 224B Broome St. | Th-Su, 9a-8p (18+)
    -Ford Foundation, 320 E. 43rd St. | Mo-Sa, 9a-5p (18+)
    -Fort Washington Collegiate, 729 W. 181st St. | Tu-We, 5:30-9:30p; Sa-Sun 9a-5:30p (12+)
    -Fulton Community Senior Center/Hudson Guild, 119 9th Ave. | Tu-Sa, 10a-5p (12+)
    -Gompers Senior/Community Center, 80 Pitt St. | Th-Su, 8a-6p (18+)
    -Gotham Health, Gouverneur, 227 Madison St. | Su-Sa, 7a-7p (18+)
    -Gotham Health, Sydenham, 264 W. 118th St. | Su-Sa, 7a-7p (18+)
    -Johnson Community Center, 1833 Lexington Ave. | Th-Su, 8a-6p (18+)
    -NYC Health + Hospitals, Bellevue, 462 1st Ave. | Su-Sa, 7a-7p (12+)
    -NYC Health + Hospitals, Metropolitan 1901 1st Ave., 4A | Su-Sa, 7a-7p (12+)
    -NYC Health + Hospitals, Harlem, 506 Lenox Ave. | Su-Sa, 7a-7p (12+)
    -NYC Health Dept. – Downtown Clinic, 1 Centre St. | Su-Sa, 9a-5p (18+)
    -NYC Health Dept. – Uptown Clinic, 158 E. 115th St. |  Mo-Sa, 9a-5p (18+)
    -NYC Mobile Bus – Harlem, 286 Malcolm X Blvd. | We-Th, 12p-8p (18+)
    -Unsheltered New Yorker Food Distribution Popup, 431 W. 125th St. | We, 5-11:55p (18+)
    -Yeshiva University, 2495 Amsterdam Ave. | Su-Th, 9a-7p; Fr, 9a-5p (12+)

  • Manhattan’s State mass vaccination site is the Javits Center (429 11th Ave.). It takes walk-ins, but those who prefer to make an appointment can fill out the NYS eligibility survey.

  • 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).

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

  • In-home vaccination is available for people who are fully homebound (can’t leave their unit even with assistance). Request an appointment by filling out this form or calling 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 Surgery; and Fort 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 (pharmacies must now offer second shots to people who got first shots elsewhere).

  • Contact your medical provider or local pharmacy.

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

Get vaccinated and get a free seven-day Metrocard: Through Sunday (5/16), single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots will be available in Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall (8 am – 1 pm) and Penn Station’s 34th St. Corridor (3 pm – 8 pm), among other locations run by the State, no appointment needed.

Veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers can now all get vaccinated at walk-in clinics in the Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Health System, Mondays-Fridays, 8 am – 3 pm. Manhattan’s VA Medical Center is at 423 E. 23rd St. Both the one-shot J&J vaccine and the two-shot Pfizer vaccine are available.

Wednesday (5/19) at 6 pm, veterans are invited to a virtual town hall about COVID vaccines and testing, hosted by the NYC Dept. of Veterans’ Services. Join the Webex meeting or call 646-992-2010, access code 173 514 4812.

During my weekly Manhattan Vaccine Task Force, Arva Rice of the New York Urban League spoke about the organization’s work to reassure Black New Yorkers of the vaccine’s safety and importance. We also heard from senior citizen health experts about guidance for vaccinated seniors and potential ways to safely reopen senior centers. If you’d like to join these weekly discussions on Tuesdays at 3 pm about vaccines and reopening, email info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

Last Thursday (5/6) at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, I joined an interfaith rally calling on the Governor to designate more houses of worship as long-term vaccine sites– rather than the pop-up approach too often used to serve communities of faith– hosted by the Black Institute and the 67th Precinct Clergy Council.

Community and faith-based organizations are encouraged to apply for grants of about $200,000 to do vaccine outreach to the communities hit hardest by the pandemic (Manhattan’s eligible neighborhoods are the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, Central Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood). An initiative of the NYC Dept. of Health, the effort to ensure fair and equitable vaccine access will have community partners work to boost vaccine confidence, conduct outreach and engagement, and increase awareness in these communities. Applications are due by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, 6/1. Click here for more details.

Lower East Side community organization GOLES is seeking in-person and remote volunteers to assist with getting the word out about vaccine access and eligibility. Email publicalliesfellow@goles.org to learn more and volunteer.

Tonight (5/13) at 5 pm, teens are invited to the “Teens and Vaccines” webinar discussing the basics of the vaccine, how to advocate for vaccine equity, and how youth can lead a just recovery. Click the title to register for the event, hosted by the youth activist coalition In Our Hands.

Tuesday (5/18) at 7 pm, teens can attend another youth-focused vaccine forum with experts from SUNY Downstate and Weill-Cornell Medical answering vaccine questions. Register for the Zoom here, or click the first link for information about translation in Spanish, Mandarin, and Haitian Creole.

Mondays and Fridays in May from 10 am – 4 pm, free walk-in COVID testing is available at Henry Street Settlement’s Jobs Plus site (24 Avenue D). Results will be sent to you via email within 72 hours.

Small businesses can get free face coverings (surgical, KN90, and KN95 masks) through the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees can arrange a pick-up from the MCC midtown office by emailing helpdesk@manhattancc.org.

Apply by Tuesday, 6/1 for a $1,000 Safe in the City grant, which offers funding for community-based actions and activities that will make neighborhoods safe, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence. Apply here.

Harlem residents– especially NYCHA and Spanish-speakers– receive a $20 Amazon gift card for completing the Harlem Community Health Needs Assessment survey from the Harlem Health Initiative at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

If you don’t have health insurance, there are only two days left to sign up for Obamacare/ACA coverage (the deadline is this 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, a person who can help individuals, families, and small businesses choose an affordable plan.

COVID News Clippings 

Pfizer seeks full FDA approval of its Covid-19 vaccine
Full approval would allow the drugmaker — the first to seek full approval — to market the shot directly to consumers.
By Lauren Morello and Sarah Owermohle, politico.com, May 7, 2021

Hunger rates plummet after two rounds of stimulus
Republicans have long sought to shrink government aid, but Democrats see the data as proof that the direct payments are working as intended.
By Helena Bottemiller Evich, politico.com, May 7, 2021

Why Did It Take So Long to Accept the Facts About Covid?
By Zeynep Tufekci, NY Times Guest Essay, May 7, 2021

MLB New York Yankees Somehow Have 7 COVID Cases in Vaccinated Staff
By Matt Stieb, New York Magazine, May 12, 2021

Stay safe.