Dear New York City, Please Don’t Fuck This Up

I’m officially very concerned about the possibility of NYC backsliding in our effort to contain COVID-19.

Briefly, confirmed case count and percent positivity for New York City were as high as they’ve been in weeks yesterday; New York State’s effective reproduction number has climbed back above one; key metrics are slipping backwards for the first time since they began to be published; and meanwhile, much of the rest of the country continues to melt down.

CNBC reported Monday that the “CDC says U.S. has ‘way too much virus’ to control pandemic as cases surge across country.” On that same day, Axios opined, “The return of coronavirus lockdowns could threaten U.S. economic progress.” Mid-week, the New York Times published a graphic showing the extent of the distribution of spikes in case loads nationwide. And there’s a new study out in JAMA arguing that from March through May, the excess death count nationally suggests that COVID-19 deaths have been undercounted by ~25% in the US, which – based on current official death toll of ~130,000, would put the actual death toll above 160,000 already. On the grisly subject of COVID-19 deaths, the COVID Tracking Project published this helpful piece from Whet Moser analyzing various potential bases for trends in deaths relative to confirmed case counts in this latest phase of the extended first wave of infections in the US. Finally, here’s a piece from Bloomberg on five new outbreaks in reopening Europe, which share the common feature of impacting poor/marginalized communities.

So much for being “all in this together”…

I’m at a loss what to do at the moment, but I urge all of my fellow New Yorkers to continue to take the pandemic seriously, lest we find ourselves back at the bottom of the hole out of which we’ve slowly dug our way, with great sacrifice, since March.

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