* Home for the Holidays - CoVid Update & the 'Tripledemic'
A Three Virus Healthcare Threat may be Good for TV Ratings & Headlines, but is it Real?
An NYC Tripledemic Update - Analysis of Reporting of RSV, Flu & CoVid in NYC
As We Return to En Vivo Socializing Over the Holidays - Things to be Aware of
December 19, 2022 / NYC Neighborhoods / CoVid in NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
NYC Weather. There's going to be some semi-serious precipitation [at present 2 plus inches] beginning Thursday afternoon around 4 pm, continuing until Friday about 4 pm. The temperatures are expected to rise to well above freezing, so it's almost certain to be rain in the city. As for the rest of the week, no rain Monday through Wednesday, and none is expected Saturday and Sunday, as folks head home for the holidays.
The temperature highs will be around 40 from Monday through Wednesday, rising into the low 50's on Thursday and possibly hit 60 on Friday, before descending into the mid 20's for the Christmas weekend, so Santa and his reindeer won't overheat as they make their appointed rounds. The temperature lows will be around 30 Monday through Wednesday, rising to 50 on Thursday, before falling to into the high teens on Friday, where the low will remain for the rest of the weekend. Monday thru Wednesday winds will be around 5 - 10 mph, rising to 15 - 20 on Thursday and then 25 - 30 on Friday, before falling back to 15 - 20 mph on Saturday and then 10 mph on Sunday. The humidity will be 50% - 65% on Monday thru Wednesday, rising to 75% - 85% on Thursday, and then falling on Friday from 75% to 50% on Friday, before settling into the weekend at between 40% - 50% for a dry weekend.
I. The Tripledemic - RSV How Real & How Scary?
As you likely heard, we are in the midst of experiencing a 'tripledemic'. The triple refers to CoVid, flu and RSV. RSV is short for respiratory syncytial virus, which is a virus that causes symptoms like those associated with a cold, but which can cause serious negative health issues for infants and the elderly. As usual, the TV news teleprompter readers and their writers appear to report whatever they're told, without actually thinking about the information they're conveying. And since they're in the business of attracting viewers' and readers' attention, they seem to have a tendency to sensationalize almost everything they report, including the weather.
So, let's start with RSV [respiratory syncytial virus], which to date, appears to have peaked the week ending November 12, 2022 [see chart]. According to weekly reporting by NYC Health, an NYC government website, there were three RSV related infant deaths since the peak this season, and they all occurred on the same week. As of the NYC Health report on December 17, 2022, there were nearly 30,000 cases in NYC so far this fall. So three infant deaths is a 0.01% RSV death rate in NYC. Given the low death rate, one has to wonder whether there were other complicating factors also at play?
RSV prevention is certainly worth paying attention to in order to protect your loved ones - especially infants, the elderly and immuno compromised. But that said, it rarely appears to be fatal, as you can see by the statistics noted above. RSV cases have been on the decline since the November 12th peak, but as in reporting on all health issues, things can change without notice. So stay tuned, knowing that what we're dealing with generally isn't lethal.
- CLICK here for our report on CoVid Update and how real is the Tripledemic in NYC.
II. Resurgence of the Flu, in the Wake of the CoVid Pandemic
Understanding what's happening with the flu this season in NYS, also doesn't seem to be intelligently reported, as the TV news teleprompter readers and their script writers all seem to parrot one another with some alarming statistics. Alarming the public is good for ratings, so I reckon the broadcasters are doing what their bosses want them to do, but like the Boy Who Called Wolf, they're doing a disservice to the public and in the long term eventually a disservice to themselves, as the public is going to ignore them when another real health emergency arises.
Yes, the Flu is on the Rise & Dramatically so, Picking up from Where it Left Off in March 2020
Yes, the flu cases have risen very dramatically this year, especially when compared to the previous flu seasons, including prepandemic. But there's a story behind the numbers, which is that during the pandemic, the flu was overshadowed by CoVid because the flu has been around for about a century and for the most part the healthcare profession knows how to deal with it. As you can see from the chart, the green line - which is 2019 - 2020 flu season - was headed for a blockbuster year before CoVid stepped out onto the world stage, and CoVid has stolen the show up until now.
What happened since CoVid began in earnest in early 2020, is that people started masking up, social distancing and self-isolating. All of these precautions not only mitigate the transmission of CoVid - but also the flu. In part this is why the 2020 - 2021 flu numbers were close to nothing, and the 2021 - 2022 numbers were also very much subdued. Now, as we are in the beginning of the 2022 - 2023 flu season, the flu appears to be picking up where it left off in early 2020, before CoVid hit.
Flu Vaccinations Rates in 2022 vs 2019 Are Higher for Adults, but Lower for Children
I found some threads of inquiry that are worth investigating, which I hope will be pursued by a better resourced news organization soon, or by us eventually.
On the NYC.gov Health website I noticed that the number of Emergency Department visits for Influenza Like Illnesses, which they shorthand to ILL, have risen dramatically from 2021 to 2022, as have admissions - BUT the Emergency Department Admissions vis a vis the visits as a percentage has dropped to about half in 2022, versus what they were in 2021. That said, the overall number of people admitted for flu increased fairly substantially. See charts.
On the CDC [Center for Disease Control] website I found that while flu vaccination rates for adults are generally up when comparing 2022 versus 2019; the flu vaccination rates for children are down significantly in 2022 versus 2019. So it's possible that people's kids that may have mild cases of the flu are transmitting it to the adults, who are then getting sick. See charts below.
Both of these trends should be examined more closely by the NYC Health and CDC agencies, but that said, being aware of them can also help you navigate your way around them.
Conspiracy Theories - Did Government Payments Influence / Favor CoVid vs Flu Reporting?
On April, 27, 2020 USA Today published the results of an investigation into whether hospitals were paid more for CoVid patients on a ventillator than for flu patients on a ventillator. The higher payments for CoVid patients was true, but the study didn't find any 'gaming the system' on the part of hospitals. What's meant by this is that USA Today didn't find any falsification of data by hospitals in order to obtain the higher CoVid payment for the use of their ventillator. As you can see from the chart [at the bottom of this report] provided by KFF [Kaiser Family Foundation], which is a non-profit focused on providing healthcare information, about $31 billion in federal government spending was targeted at providing relief to healthcare providers treating patients with CoVid.
III. King CoVid is Back Again but ... CoVid's Reign is Waning
So, this brings us back to CoVid. CoVid has been the Talk of the Town for the past three years, but it's allure is fading.
New Cases / Hospitalizations / Deaths. In NYC we've been seeing about 300 new cases per day and on average there are about 4,000 people in NYC who have contracted and are living with CoVid. Also in NYC, as of today, about 130 patients are in the hospital with CoVid, and about a dozen folks died of it within the past day. About 14% of those tested at NYC clinics and hospitals tested positive for CoVid, but these numbers don't include the at home tests, so I don't know how meaningful a statistic the % testing positive is anymore.
All of this is more or less under control. We've moved from pandemic to endemic. So now let's see how CoVid plays out in the five boroughs of NYC geographically and ethnically. The following are a few stats that stick out to me.
Vaccinations By Age Group. About 99% of all adult New Yorkers received at least one vaccination dose. About 89% of NYC adults completed the original two shot vaccination program, while 48% have been boosted at least once. Kids under age 18 however do far less well vis a vis vaccinations. About 52% received at least one dose, only 45% actually completed the two shot regimen and only 16% have been boosted at least once.
New Cases by Borough. If you want to contract CoVid your best bet is eastern Brooklyn or southern Queens. But as you can see from the map, right now Queens looks pretty infected. But please bear in mind that this map can change dramatically - every ten days or so - so what you're seeing here is CoVid in NYC at a fleeting moment in time. See red map chart at the top of this report.
Vaccination Uptake by Ethnicity. Murdoch's Fox News / America's Disinformation Network Seems to be Dumbing Down White New Yorkers. Given George Washington, nearly 250 years ago, mandated that his troops be vaccinated, one would think that people today would recognize the value of protecting one's health via vaccinations. On many news programs, and for many measured categories, pundits use Whites as a sort of established national standard, when evaluating the progress being made by people in other demographic groups. Historically Whites have come out on top, because they've been members of the governing class, and the ethnic majority since this nation's founding.
But if a significant percentage of White New Yokers continue to rely on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, Wall Street Journal and New York Post for their information, they'll soon enough lose their spot as a sort of aspirational ethnic national standard. The example I use to support these allegations today, is that White NYC Adults have the second lowest vaccination rate in the city of all ethnic groups, and White NYC children have the lowest CoVid vaccination rate in the city. Historically - pre-Murdoch - one would expect Whites to have the highest vaccination rates for both adults and children.
Murdoch media outlets have the predominant share of media in NYC, as Murdoch controls the Fox TV network, Fox 5, WNYW Channel 9, the Wall St Journal and the NY Post. Many of these Murdoch's outlets have done their audiences a disservice by not properly informing them vis a vis vaccines and vaccinations, in spite of the CoVid policies the company has implemented for itself [so Mr. Murdoch wants us to listen to his pundits as they say one thing & pay no attention to what Mr. Murdoch & Cos do, which is quite another thing].
Vaccinated People are Dying, but They're Generally Older and / or Infirm, & When Other Things are Equal, the Vaccinated Folks have a Far, Far Better Chance of Survival
Recently More Vaccinated Americans Died from CoVid than Unvaccinated Americans, BUT ... That's not true when you take into account age and other health variables, and whether or not they kept up with the vaccination boosters. In September 2021, 23% of those who died were vaccinated, that number rose to 42% in February 2022, and in August of 2022 it was 58%. BUT you need to know that at this point in the pandemic, most of the people dying of CoVid are over the age of 85 [see chart below]. So while they are vaccinated, they are also very old and hence more susceptible to dying than those who are younger.
Vaccines Still Make a HUGE Difference. So the numbers, per a November 23, 2022 Washington Post report tells us, that: 1) unvaccinated Americans 6 months and older died at a rate 6x more those who got the first two doses of the vaccine, 2) unvaccinated Americans over age 5 died at an 8x rate than those who also received a booster, and 3) unvaccinated Americans age 50 and up were 12x times more likely to die than someone fully vaccinated with two boosters. So evaluate your risk and act accordingly. A shot in the arm seems a small price to pay for protection / insurance.
Protect the Elderly - CoVid Mitigation Advice is as Easy of 1-2-3-4-5
1. Stay up to date on your CoVid vaccinations. As time goes on and this abates, perhaps we can back off this regimen and like flu, it will be something we'll vaccinate against as we age.
2. Wash your hands regularly before touching your face - most notably your mouth and nose.
3. Social distance as much as you can, and wear a mask when in an enclosed public space or a crowded outdoor space.
4. Avoid people who are ill / coughing and stay at home if it's you.
5. And test yourself before attending events with family and friends in enclosed spaces if you're uncertain whether or not you have contracted CoVid. And if you caught CoVid, test yourself after about five or six days, to make sure you no longer have it before going back out in public.
Editor's Note. There are a number of advertisements on this site that you can click to find a testing site near you, as well as ads that you can click which will tell you where you can seek CoVid treatment if you need it.
All Other - We Continue to Learn More About CoVid
There's a whole slew of additional data I dug up about some of the other impacts of catching CoVid vis a vis its long term impact on one's health ['long CoVid'] and possible impact on Alzheimers.
We're also learning more about the vaccines and their impact on people. So as not to scare you, about the only thing I have found so far in this regard, is that there may be a slight lengthening of women's menstrual cycles.
We'll be back with more, but probably next year.
Have a nice week.