New York City

New York City Data Show Infection Rates TWICE as High Among the Boosted – But Trickery Hides Low Infection Rates Among the Unvaccinated

I want to take you on a journey – a journey into data.  What you take from this is up to you – perhaps you’ll gain a healthy scepticism of statistical data presented by experts; perhaps you’ll gain an understanding of types of tricks that might be used to massage data to favour a particular outcome; or perhaps you’ll even decide that government experts are far more likely to be right than a random person on the internet. All that I ask is that you come on the journey with me.

The journey starts with a statement made by outgoing Mayor of the city of New York, Bill de Blasio:

We want everyone, right now, as quickly as possible, to get those boosters. And we’re going to make it even better for you with a new incentive and an incentive that is here just in time for the holidays. As of today, we’re announcing a $100 incentive for everyone who goes out and gets a booster here in New York City, between now and the end of the year.

The former Mayor seems to think that there’s no doubt that the vaccines, and the booster vaccine in particular, offer the way out of the Covid epidemic. Let’s see what the data say.

New York City Health Commissioner Orders Under-Fives to be Masked Forever

New York City’s new Health Commissioner has caused anger after announcing that children aged five and under should wear face masks indefinitely, bucking the national trend of ditching masks and going in the face of evidence that kids are at almost zero risk from COVID-19. MailOnline has the story.

“I think it’s indefinite at this point,” Dr. Ashwin Vasan said Friday during a COVID-19 briefing in Queens. “People who have tried to predict what’s going to happen in the future in this pandemic have repeatedly found egg on their face, as they say, and I’m not going to do that here today.”

The woke commissioner, who lives in Brooklyn with his partner and three children, including a four-year-old son, argued he wanted to mask children because under fives are not vaccinated.

“As a father of a two-and-a-half-year old-and two other older kids, I want to keep them as safe as possible. I would love nothing more than to send my son to daycare without a mask,” Vasan said, according to CBS New York

“But as a scientist, and as a doctor, and an epidemiologist, I want to keep him safe because he’s not eligible for a vaccine.”

His comments sparked fear and fury among frustrated New York parents who face having to force their young children to keep wearing a mask in the face of mounting evidence that they are at little risk. 

It also comes as every state, including California which ended its mandate last week, has lifted or announced plans to lift masking requirements in schools. 

The lone holdout is Hawaii, which is dropping its indoor mask mandate on March 26th but expected to extend the requirement for schools. 

New York state and city also lifted school mask mandates earlier this month. 

The nonsense piled upon nonsense of this measure boggles the mind. There is no robust evidence that surgical masks (let alone cloth masks) significantly reduce the spread of respiratory disease including COVID-19. There is little evidence that vaccination does much to reduce the spread for long. Children are at very low risk of serious disease from COVID-19. And Omicron is even milder than earlier variants. Plus masks are harmful. No wonder the rest of the country and world is dropping interventions of all kinds, including mask mandates. But not Dr. Vasan in NYC.

Worth reading in full.

Bill de Blasio’s Successor as Mayor of New York City Vows to Retain Private Sector Vaccine Mandate

On New Year’s Day, New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams will be sworn into office, replacing the outgoing Bill de Blasio. But little will change regarding the city’s Covid restrictions, such as a vaccine mandate requiring all private sector workers to be jabbed. Adams has selected de Blasio’s Health Department Commissioner, Dr. Dave Choksi, to be part of the incoming administration; looking to the future, Choksi declared that, “the private sector employer mandate will stay in effect in the new year”. The Mail has more.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams has promised a seamless transition regarding the city’s Covid response, including keeping outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s planned mandate that private businesses require vaccination for all employees.

“We can’t shut down our city again. We can’t allow the city to go further into economic despair,” Adams during a morning press conference on Thursday, where he unveiled his six-point plan to combat Covid.

At the beginning of December, de Blasio announced what he called a “pre-emptive strike” to prevent another wave of the virus, forcing private employers to require all on-site workers get their shots. 

Businesses were required to start showing proof of employee vaccinations on December 27th, per the policy. The mandate covers all companies in the five boroughs, from Goldman Sachs to the corner bodega. 

Adams’ health advisers are currently mulling the idea to include booster shots in the current vaccine mandates, meaning employers would have to hound their workers to get a third shot. 

School vaccination mandates could also be on the table, officials said. The health commissioner said that his working group will also study a requirement for all public school children to get vaccinated by spring. 

The Big Apple chalked a record 44,000 new cases on Thursday, the largest one-day number since the pandemic began. Governor Kathy Hochul also announced that New York state saw a record 74,207 daily cases on Thursday.

“The private sector employer mandate will stay in effect in the new year with the focus on compliance not punishment,” Health Department Commissioner Dr. Dave Choksi, who will stay on in Adams’ administration, said Thursday.    

“We know businesses share our goal of keeping their staff and their clients safe and their doors open,” he said. “To put it simply, Covid is bad for business and vaccination ensures not just health but also a healthy economy.”

City bars and restaurants have also closed down because of the increase in Omicron infections and the Times Square New Year’s Eve festivities, traditionally an economic driver for Midtown Manhattan, have been pared down from 58,000 to 15,000 revellers. 

Adams will have his inauguration ceremony at the event, after cancelling the in-person event on Saturday, in a move to symbolize that New York City will stay open.  

Worth reading in full.

New York City Announces Vaccine Mandate for Private Sector Workers

Since October, New York City has required all public sector workers, such as teachers, police officers, and civil servants, to be vaccinated against Covid, and has recently announced that the mandate will soon extend to all private sector employees. The policy will come into force on December 27th, with Mayor Bill de Blasio calling it a “pre-emptive strike” against a potential winter surge in Covid cases. Metro has the story.

The aggressive, first-of-its-kind measure, is what de Blasio is calling a “pre-emptive strike” to combat the expected surge in Covid cases this winter, as the Delta and Omicron variants create growing cause for concern.

“We in New York City have decided to use a pre-emptive strike, to really do something bold to stop the further growth of Covid and the dangers it’s causing to all of us,” the soon-to-be departing mayor said Monday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show.

Vaccination requirement for hospital and nursing home staff as well as city employees, including teachers, police officers and firefighters has been in place since October.

“Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible. The timing is horrible with the winter months,” de Blasio said.

“So as of today, we’re going to announce a first-in-the-nation measure. Our health commissioner will announce a vaccine mandate for private sector employers across the board.”

The mayor is expected to provide additional details to the new policy at a 10am briefing.

The policy will take effect on December 27th.

The city’s Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said Monday children were the group most affected currently by breakthrough Covid cases, emphasizing the need to expand protections for vulnerable youth.

The mayor is also broadening the city’s Key to NYC vaccine mandate for city businesses, indoor dining, gyms, theatres and other entertainment venues to now include children ages 5 to 11 years-old. Beginning December 14th, children in that age group will be required to show proof of at least one shot.

According to the mayor’s office about 20% of those children have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine.

De Blasio said he expects the new mandate to survive any legal challenges. A spokesperson for the mayor said the private sector mandate will apply to roughly 184,000 businesses.

Additional guidance will be issued on December 15th, de Blasio said.

Worth reading in full.

New York City to Offer Children $100 for Getting Vaccinated

New York City officials will soon hand children $100 if they go and get vaccinated, with Mayor Bill de Blasio commenting that the cash incentive “buys a whole lot of candy”. The policy will begin next week when vaccines will be administered in the city’s primary schools. The Telegraph has the story.

It marks an expansion of a previous policy enacted in July, when New York began offering a $100 reward to adults after the number of people wanting jabs began to slow.

“Good news, kids are eligible for the $100 vaccine incentive”, Mayor Bill de Blasio told a press conference on Thursday.

“So, we really want kids [and] families [to] take advantage of that. Everyone could use a little more money around the holidays. But, most importantly, we want our kids and our families to be safe”.

Officials hope the cash reward will encourage children to get vaccinated quickly ahead of the upcoming holiday season when infections are expected to spike.

America’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month cleared the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine to children ages five to 11 years-old. The decision makes as many as 28 million children in America eligible to get vaccinated.

Separately, it was disclosed that thousands of American spies and intelligence officers could soon face dismissal for failing to comply with their Government’s vaccination deadline.

President Joe Biden has issued a string of vaccine mandates telling federal employees, contractors and health care workers that they must get vaccinated.

Worth reading in full.

One in Six New York City Public Servants Remain Unvaccinated After Friday’s Mandatory Vaccination Deadline

One in six New York City public employees, which include those working within law enforcement and the fire department, have yet to receive the first dose of a Covid vaccine after the deadline for adhering to the city’s vaccination mandate closed yesterday. Those still unvaccinated will be put on unpaid leave starting from tomorrow, with the city expecting a shortage of workers to place a strain on public services. The Guardian has the story.

Despite opposition to the city’s vaccine mandate fuelled by right wing politicians and media and leading to a protest at City Hall this week, a last-minute rush of jabs boosted the vaccination rate to 83% among police officers, firefighters, garbage collectors and other city workers covered by the mandate as of 8pm on Friday.

That was up from 76% a day earlier.

Workers who have not complied with the requirement will be put on unpaid leave starting on Monday, leaving the city bracing for the possibility of closed firehouses, fewer police and ambulances and mounting trash.

Vaccination rates for the fire and sanitation departments jumped significantly on Friday as workers rushed to meet the deadline for the mandate and an extra incentive: workers who got a shot by Friday would get $500.

The fire department rate rose 8% and the sanitation department saw an additional 10% of its staff vaccinated, according to city data. The fire and sanitation departments each have 23% of staff unvaccinated.

The NYPD had a 5% jump in vaccinations on Friday, leaving 16% of police personnel yet to get a dose.

City officials have been weighing contingencies to deal with an expected staffing shortfall.

The Fire Department said it was prepared to close up to 20% of its companies and have 20% fewer ambulances in service while changing schedules, cancelling vacations and turning to outside EMS providers to make up for expected staffing shortages.

Worth reading in full.

New York City Introduces Vaccine Passports for Indoor Dining

Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York, has announced that later this month only those who’ve been double jabbed will be able to dine inside at restaurants, enter gyms or go to the theatre. The New York Times has more.

New York City will become the first U.S. city to require proof of vaccination for a variety of activities for workers and customers — indoor dining, gyms and performances — to put pressure on people to get vaccinated, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday morning.

The program, similar to mandates issued in France and Italy last month, will start later this month, and after a transition period, enforcement will begin in mid-September, when schools are expected to reopen and more workers could return to offices in Manhattan.

“It’s time for people to see vaccination as literally necessary to living a good and full and healthy life,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference.

“Not everyone is going to agree with this, I understand that,” he said. “But for so many people, this is going to be a lifesaving act, that we are putting a mandate in place that is going to guarantee a much higher level of vaccination in this city. And that is the key to protecting people, and the key to our recovery.”

Mr. de Blasio has been moving aggressively to get more New Yorkers vaccinated to curtail a third wave of coronavirus cases. He is requiring city workers to get vaccinated or to face weekly testing, and he has offered a $100 incentive for the public.

About 66% of adults in the city are fully vaccinated, according to city data, although pockets of the city have lower rates.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: New York City Councilman Joe Borelli points out that this will mean 69% of blacks, 58% of Latinos and majority of Bronx residents won’t be able to eat in a restaurant or go to the gym.