Are We In a Public Health Emergency?

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WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER.
By Dr. Katelyn Jetelina YourLocalEpidemologist@substac.com May 18, 2022:

We are clearly in the middle of an infection surge in the U.S. Hospitalizations are increasing but not reflecting case acceleration, and deaths are nearing pandemic lows. The individual risk of severe disease continues to decline thanks to immunity and treatments.

This changing dynamic has sparked an intense tug-of-war among scientists, leaders, and the public—a push towards “normalcy” from some and push back towards “urgency” from others. Where one lands on this spectrum is centered around the answer to one question: Are we in a public health emergency?

Challenging answer

This debate will ultimately decide if, when, and how we differentiate a country-wide emergency (epidemic) from a manageable situation (a middle phase) until we reach a predictable, static state of disease (endemic). Essentially we’re collectively deciding where we place SARS-CoV-2 in our repertoire of threats.

This isn’t something the U.S. has navigated in the modern day with a novel respiratory virus. In reality, our collective answer isn’t purely epidemiological, but also physiological, cultural, political, and moral. I think this is difficult, particularly in the U.S., for four reasons:

No goal. 

The CDC defines an epidemic as an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.” For the past two years, there’s no doubt we experienced a country-wide epidemic—it was novel and, by definition, above normally expected—causing a public health disaster of over 1 million deaths.

Because we know SARS-CoV-2 will be with us in the foreseeable future, what is now an “unexpected increase” in disease? For example, U.S. deaths are starting to plummet which looks relatively great, but how low is low enough? 

 One group suggested that an “acceptable” endemic level of SARS-CoV-2 would be to keep peak COVID-19 deaths in a surge below the peak of a bad flu season.

As I charted below, we are far from the flu threshold. The worst flu season was in 2017-2018 where 61,000 deaths were recorded. In the first 5 months of 2022, we already surpassed this number more than 2-fold. This lands SARS-CoV-2 as the third leading cause of death.

Is this truly an “acceptable” level for the U.S.?  

Unpredictability. 

If we are not in an epidemic, then we are floating in a weird middle-ground because we’re not in an endemic either. Transmission is not stable or predictable, the virus is changing quickly, and we have no idea what it will do next:

Will Omicron continue to mutate in a ladder-like fashion or will it mutate to an entirely different Variant of Concern and throw us for a loop, like Omicron did after Delta? We have no idea.

If we do get an Omicron-like event, when will it happen? We have models suggesting it will be in 1.5 years or 10 years. In other words, we have no idea.

Will the virus mutate to become less severe or more severe? Unfortunately, viruses mutate randomly. We don’t know the next move.This means that if we’re not in an emergency today, we may be in one tomorrow. The dynamic nature of the virus is also changing the meaning of “emergency” over time.

For example, during the Delta wave and before vaccines, the emergency was mortality. But during Omicron, the emergency was hospital capacity (and mortality). Some have argued that the next emergency is already in the works: morbidity due to long COVID. Our definition of an emergency will change, making it even more difficult for us to collectively define the “end” of an emergency.

Fatigue. 

In a series of polls, it’s clear that about half the country would like to move on from this virus. In one poll, 55% of voters think COVID-19 should be “treated as an endemic disease that will never fully go away” while 38% say it should be “treated as a public health emergency.” Pandemic fatigue is real. People are losing hope. And, individual-level risk is low, so the population-level threat feels distant.

The collective, national-level psyche plays a huge role in defining our collective threshold of concern about SARS-CoV-2.

No safety net or trust.

 During the Omicron peak, Denmark boldly declared the emergency over. I was not surprised given their high vaccination rate, ability to track the virus with comprehensive data, and wide safety net of universal healthcare coverage, paid time off, etc. More than 90% of Danes approved ending the state of emergency, too.

In Australia, public trust enabled them to dodge death until the vast majority of the population was vaccinated. But safety nets and trust are in short supply in the U.S. Because of this, the decision to end a public health emergency in the U.S. is particularly difficult, as it’s a question of leaving people behind and trusting institutions.

This is really important to get right

Practically speaking, defining an emergency is really important for funding and thus our capacity to fight. The current public health emergency declaration, for example, goes until July 15, 2022. The Biden Administration promised states 60 days notice before the declaration expires, which would have been two days ago.

I would be very surprised if they let the emergency expire in the middle of a surge, but as I outlined above, the answer isn’t clear.

As the Kaiser Family Foundation clearly laid out, if the emergency declaration goes away, it will be a big deal. We will see changes in almost every aspect of this pandemic response as outlined below. Together it will be more difficult to fight the virus and easier to accept the current state of affairs as “normal.”  

Concurrently, the White House is also trying to push two pandemic preparedness funding packages. These need to go through, but it’s unclear whether the public will prioritize pandemic preparedness if we’re not in an emergency (we tend to have short term memory loss). If pandemic preparedness is not funded, the U.S. public health system will continue the deadly and exhausting cycle of neglect and panic that we’ve experienced for decades. But is this reason alone sufficient to declare an emergency?

Bottom line

We are in a strange phase of the pandemic—caught somewhere between epidemic of emergency and endemic of manageable disease, determined by the push and pull of epidemiology, culture, politics, and psychology.

We haven’t clearly defined our end goal, so it’s incredibly confusing to know what to think, who to listen to, or what to do. And we are tired of trying to figure it out. We, as a nation, will ultimately decide what we accept from SARS-CoV-2 based on national-level decisions

(Do we fund public health to improve data systems, discover the next generation of vaccines, and support testing for Medicaid and Medicare?), institutional-level decisions (Do businesses improve ventilation and filtration? Can we build trust with the public again?), and individual-level decisions (Do we use antigen tests to break transmission chains? Do we wear masks when surging? Do we get vaccinated?).

Every day we unconsciously (or consciously) inch towards the collective answer. The decision is up to us.

This week we got more tools to help:You can now order 8 more antigen tests to be delivered to your home. Go to the USPS website now.

The FDA approved age 5-11 boosters, but the CDC needs to approve.

They meet Thursday and should approve it quickly thereafter.

On June 8, 21, and 22, the FDA meets to discuss the under 5 vaccine.

The FDA approved a 3-in-1 Labcorp test that can detect COVID, the flu, and RSV. Specimens have to be mailed for testing (questioning broad feasibility), but this is a step in the right direction.

“Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)” is written by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH PhD—an epidemiologist, biostatistician, wife, and mom of two little girls. During the day she works at a nonpartisan health policy think tank, and at night she writes this newsletter. Her main goal is to “translate” the ever-evolving public health science so that people will be well equipped to make evidence-based decisions. This newsletter is free thanks to the generous support of fellow YLE community members. To support the effort, please subscribe here:Subscribe nowLikeCommentShare Thanks for subscribing to Your Local Epidemiologist. This post is public, so feel free to share it.Share© 2022 Your Local Epidemiologist Unsubscribe
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FORMER DIR OF FINANCE OF HUDSON VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES INDICTED FOR STEALING OVER $700,000 FROM NON-PROFIT

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WPCNR POLICE GAZETTE. From the Westchester Office of the District Attorney. May 18, 2022:

Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah announced that Ingrid Aquino, the former Director of Finance of Hudson Valley Community Services in Hawthorne, was indicted for stealing over $700,000 from the non-profit healthcare organization between 2017 and 2021.   

Aquino, 31, of the Bronx, was indicted by a Westchester County Grand Jury for Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a felony. The defendant was arraigned on May 17, 2022.

It is alleged that between November 2017 and September 2021, Aquino stole over $700,000 from Hudson Valley Community Services while employed as the Director of Finance. During that time, the defendant allegedly wrote more than 150 checks from the non-profit healthcare organization that were payable to her and her husband.  

The District Attorney’s Office arrested Aquino on May 2, 2022, following an investigation.

The case is before Judge Anne Minihan in Westchester County Court, and is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cooper Gorrie of the Trials and Investigations Division.

The charges against the defendant are merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  

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PAUL FEINER REPORTS ON GREENBURGH FORMULA SHORTAGE AND EFFORTS TO FIND IT FOR MOMS WITH BABIES IN NEED.

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WPCNR WESTCHESTER CRITICAL. By John F. Bailey. May 18, 2022:

Last Sunday, as America became aware of the formula crisis when the Food & Drug Administration announced it to everyone’s surprise.

One, just one public leader in the entire state immediately suggested a way to do it, Paul Feiner, Town Supervisor of Greenburgh came up with an idea to “find that formula,” in a letter to the public, which WPCNR printed:

“Many parents with babies are stressed because they are having a difficult time getting the formula they need for their child. I would like to help. If you are having difficulty finding a formula your child needs please e mail me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com. I will be asking student interns and volunteers  to help you find the formula and will also connect you to resourrces that we become familiar. There are formula finder sites  on social media. Will also reach out to medical professionals, other parents and find out if there are substitute formulas that your child can use.”

Two days since that letter appeared, I contacted Mr. Feiner this morning and asked him how the Formula Finding operation has started.

He issued this statement Wednesday morning to WPCNR:

“I have helped a few residents so far -100% success.

In each of the cases I have posted on social media requests for bottles/cans of formula and residents have donated unopened or unused formulas. 


I thought more people would contact me. Have also been posting on the town website advisories on what parents can do if they need a formula. 


Some student interns are working in my office – preparing a fact sheet –listing social media sites parents can access for help.

Also people can contact Amazon Canada and get formulas.

The students are going to interview doctors, nutritionists, host a cable TV show highlighting their findings.  Working on this. Will share their fact sheet when it’s completed.”

For perspective, WPCNR has seen no news conferences on formula availability locally, no information from the state, the county, any Department of Health, doctors organizations, hospitals, or any other towns, pharmacies, food chains in the county, or local stores in either White Plains or any city for that matter, on the state of formula supply in the county.

Where is the urgent information on breast feeding how to get women who are delivering today can use their own breast milk to keep their babies alive, and prepare to do so?

Now I am not a doctor, or even pretend to make medical decisions, but the mothers scheduled to deliver babies in the next two months need to be briefed by their hospitals, delivering doctors and pediatricians (if not already which I automatically assume the moms-about-to-deliver have been briefed) on the need to be able to breast feed their babies for at least 2 months.

Or 3 months because the Food & Drug Administration has given Abbott, the manufacturer of formula 8 weeks to clean up their plant that they closed after the contamination was found.

Reuters Explainer reported Tuesday that once the FDA approves that “initial” requirements have been metanufacturing could begin in two weeks. Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, a former FDA commissioner said after the 2-weeks to reopening, full plant capacity could happen in 4 to 6 weeks.

Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and former FDA associate commissioner, said Abbott should be able to meet its two weeks target for re-opening the facility, and expects it to be fully operational in another four-to-six weeks.

No explanation from the NY Times press report Tuesday on why Abbott Laboratories did not start cleaning out the Sturgis, Michigan plant when they closed it in February which manufactures Abbott baby formula, because cronobacter bacteria, from which 4 babies (according to Reuters Explainer yesterday) who had consumed Abbot formula sickened and two died.

Abbot Laboratories has denied that that the cronobacter bacteria was in the formulas the 4 babies consumed, Reuters Explainer chronicled the possible connection that started the recall of Abbott products Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered formulas. A specialty liquid formula called Similac PM 60/40 was added at the end of February. Of the four infants found sick, three had cronobacter sakazakii infections, and one Salmonella newport

Consumers reported four infants who were sick, including three with Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one with Salmonella newport, who had been fed formula products made at the Sturgis plant. A fourth infant with cronobacter sakazakii was later added.

Cronobacter sakazakii can cause life threatening sepsis infections or meningitis and may have contributed to the death of two of the infants, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said.

Abbott says there is no evidence to link its formulas to these illnesses.

The FDA and the CDC has not put out any information that connects the illnesses and the plant. FDA officials said that the investigation was impeded by having only two of the four sickened babies’ clinical samples.

The CDC analyzed clinical samples from two of the infants and did not find a genetic match to the environmental strains found at the plant. It also said the bacteria from the patient samples were not closely related to one another.

The FDA and Abbott tested environmental and product samples at the plant. They found five environmental samples containing Cronobacter sakazakii. The product samples tested negative.

At this writing there have not yet been reports of such infections or deaths of babies from the Cronobactor sakazakii from products shipped overseas

  

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NY FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST AMAZON FOR MISTREATING PREGNANT AND DISABLED WORKERS ALLEGEDLY ENDANGERED BY REFUSING TO ADJUST WORK TASKS AND HOURS TO ACCOMMODATE MEDICAL GUIDELINES

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WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Press Office. May 18, 2022:

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the New York State Division of Human Rights has filed a complaint against Amazon, Inc. alleging the company engages in discrimination against pregnant workers and workers with disabilities by denying them reasonable accommodations.

The Division also alleges that Amazon has policies that force pregnant workers and workers with disabilities to take an unpaid leave of absence rather than allowing them to work with a reasonable accommodation.  

“My administration will hold any employer accountable, regardless of how big or small, if they do not treat their workers with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Governor Hochul said. “New York has the strongest worker protections in the nation and was one of the first to have protections for workers who are pregnant and those with disabilities. Working men and women are the backbone of New York and we will continue to take a stand against any injustice they face.”  

The New York State Human Rights Law requires that all employers, upon request, reasonably accommodate workers with disabilities or pregnancy-related conditions.

This can include modification of job duties that allow an employee to perform the essential functions of their jobs.

Amazon, which operates 23 worksites with over 39,000 workers across New York State, employs in-house “Accommodation Consultants” to evaluate such requests and recommend appropriate action. The Division alleges that Amazon’s policy of allowing worksite managers to override the recommendations made by the Accommodations Consultant have caused Amazon employees to be denied reasonable accommodations for their disabilities and pregnancy-related conditions.  

The Division further alleges that under Amazon’s accommodation policy, employees with disabilities are forced to take unpaid medical leave even in situations where the Accommodation Consultant has identified a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of their position without an undue burden. The policy or practice of forcing employees to take an unpaid medical leave of absence diminishes the terms and conditions of employment for employees with disabilities and is against the Human Rights Law.  

Division of Human Rights Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Melissa Franco said, “Since the 1970s – years before the Americans with Disabilities Act – New York State has prohibited discrimination against pregnant employees in the workplace. The Division will work to ensure that everyone in our state is fully afforded the rights and dignities that the law requires.”  

In its complaint, the Division alleges a pregnant worker requested and was approved to receive a reasonable accommodation to avoid lifting packages over 25 pounds. However, the worksite manager refused to follow the accommodation – forcing the worker to continue lifting heavy packages.

Despite internal complaints about the lack of accommodation, Amazon took no action to ensure the needed change was carried out and the pregnant worker suffered an injury while lifting heavy packages. Subsequently, the worker required further accommodations as a result of the injury. Amazon denied the request and forced the pregnant worker into indefinite unpaid leave. 

The Division alleges that another Amazon worker was improperly denied when they requested a modified work schedule due to a documented disability.

The worker’s condition necessitated a specific sleep schedule and the worker submitted supporting medical documentation with the request. Prior to the request, the worker had been swapping shifts with a coworker to accommodate this condition without objections from management.

 Amazon’s Accommodations Consultant recommended that the worker be given the requested modified work schedule. However, the worksite manager refused to implement the accommodation without offering any explanation. The Accommodations Consultant did not challenge the manager’s refusal. Rather, the Accommodations Consultant reversed their recommendation and denied the request citing a lack of a qualifying condition – despite the medical documentation they had previously received.
  

In another instance from the Division’s complaint, the agency alleges that a worker who requested a reduction of work hours due to disability was denied an accommodation, despite initial approval by an Accommodations Consultant.

The Amazon worksite manager refused to change the worker’s schedule even after several weeks of correspondence with the Accommodations Consultant. Eventually, Amazon determined that the request was not supported by sufficient medical documentation. Rather than continuing a dialogue with the worker to obtain appropriate medical documentation as New York State law requires, Amazon denied the request and closed the matter.  

The Division’s complaint seeks a decision requiring Amazon to cease its discriminatory conduct, adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices regarding the review of requests for reasonable accommodations, train its employees on the provisions of the Human Rights Law, and pay civil fines and penalties to the State of New York.   

The Division of Human Rights is empowered by law to investigate and prosecute systematic patterns of discrimination through their Division Initiated Action Unit. This Unit can, upon its own motion, initiate investigations and file complaints alleging violations of the state anti-discrimination law. Once filed, a separate unit within the Division investigates the complaint and issues findings. Complaints that are found to have probable cause are then set for an administrative hearing before the Division’s Hearings Unit. Although the complaint is a private document, the Division’s final determination on the complaint will be available to the public. For more information on the Division of Human Rights’ process visit www.dhr.ny.gov.  

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White Plains School Budget Passes by 10 to 1 Margin. All Resolutions Pass. Superintendent Thanks City

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From Dr. Joseph Ricca, White Plains Superintendent of Schools. May 17, 2022:

Dear White Plains CSD Community Member,

On behalf of the White Plains CSD Board of Education, we would like to take a moment to thank you for all of your help and support throughout the budget planning and presentation processes.

As you may know, the White Plains CSD 2022-2023 Budget was passed with a (unofficial) total vote count of 1,015 YES (90.3%) and 109 NO.

The question regarding the Capital Bond passed with a total vote count of 1,023 (90.8%) YES and 104 NO.

The question regarding the use of existing Capital Reserve passed with a total vote count of 1,051 (93.3%) YES and 76 NO.

The question regarding the establishment of Capital Reserve passed with a vote count of 1,025 (90.9%) YES and 103 NO.

Thank you!

Dr. Sheryl Brady and Mr. Charlie Norris, Esq., were reelected to the Board of Education. Congratulations to all!

We are very thankful to all that took the time to attend meetings; share information; participate in focus group meetings; and organize virtual community gatherings. It is because of you, and the support of our community, that we are able to move forward with support for our outstanding student programming! We are thrilled, grateful and #WPProud.

Thank you for your support and congratulations!

Respectfully,

Joseph Ricca

Joseph L. Ricca, Ed.D.

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RED TIDE OF COVID

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WPCNR COVID DAILY. From the NY State Covid Tracker. Observations and Analysis by John F. Bailey. May 17, 2022:

The “Red Tide”  is rising.

Positives case percentages of those testing positive for covid are averaging 10% for each of the 9 counties around New York. As testing numbers climb, that 10% level remains the level infected how many are tested. This is not good.

It means more people should be testing and are not for whatever personal reasons.

COVID SPREADERS are INFUSING NEW CASES FROM YORKTOWN  to YONKERS, TARRYTOWNS TO RYE, SOMERS  TO NEW ROCHELLE, MAMARONECK TO WHITE PLAINS

Why is this continuing to happen? SPREADERS? SOCIALIZATIONS? NO MASKERS? SCHOOLS SOFT ON MASKING? BIG EVENTS?

“DEFINITELY A SURGE” COUNTY EXECUTIVE SAYS. HOSPITALIZATIONS 113 AS OF MONDAY GOING UP 10% WEEKLY, STAY DURATIONS, WHO IS GETTING IT,  DEMOGRAPHICS? NOT  DISCLOSED.

Westchester is now considered a high COVID transmission county, according to data from the Center for Disease Control in a news release Monday morning.

According to the CDC specific Westchester degree of spread, “the county is seeing levels of cases of hospitalizations that are putting a strain on the local health care system.”

The CDC, along with the state health department, now recommends masks be worn indoors.  In his briefing on Covid Monday  afternoon, Westchester County Executive George Latimer  said he was considering  requiring masking again in County facility office buildings, but was not ready to bring masks back when beaches open Memorial Day Weekend, and County Pools in July.

 He  said  he was not at this time considering covid precautions at county festival events and public county-sponsored events, but said he would look at that.

The County  Executive when asked about Scarsdale schools  urging parents to have their children wear masks but still making it an option not to mask, he said this was up to individual school districts which are under state jurisdiction.

 Scarsdale experienced 207 active cases averaging 28 new daily cases a day in the two weeks ended Saturday May 14.

Mr. Latimer said he would be reconvening meetings with Westchester School Superintendents to discuss their individual district covid penetration  and await state guidance which controls conditions in the schools.

The Scarsdale Public Schools issued this statement on their website Monday:


“Unfortunately, this weekend Westchester County was designated as a high transmission county according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) county data. As a reminder, the Community Level is high because the levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases, and patients in hospital beds are a strain on the local health system. At this level of transmission, both the CDC and the State Health Department recommend that individuals wear masks in indoor settings, including K-12 schools. In addition to the individual protection masks provide, they can also help to lessen the burden on our health care system by slowing the spread. So, while the CDC and NYS are no longer mandating masking, they do suggest it. Therefore, we are also suggesting, but not mandating, masking as a preventive step for as long as our community level remains High. We do require that families, staff, and students respect the choices individuals within our school community make with regard to masking.

Scarsdale has seen an increase in the number of cases in the District. Since May 2, 2022, there have been 232 student cases and 21 staff cases.  This is about double the number we saw in the previous two weeks. The cases are sporadic across grades and schools and usually take the form of small clusters on a grade level.

The District has and will continue to follow its mitigation strategies including those outlined in our ventilation plan, procedures for returning to school when sick or symptomatic, informing grade levels when there are more than two cases on a grade level, and sending test kits home to larger groups of students when additional cases are detected. Please remember families can also request test kits from our school nurses at any time, they can be sent home with students or left at the safety monitor station for pick up. At this time, the District has no plans to make any changes to our day-to-day.  

As you know, we are eagerly anticipating the traditional events and celebrations between now and the end of the year. These gatherings will bring together many people, including extended families and individuals who aren’t frequently in our schools. As a result, these types of events do hold an increased likelihood of spreading COVID-19. We encourage the community to consider wearing masks when at these larger indoor events, strongly encourage anyone at higher risk to wear a mask, and ask participants to respect each other’s choices. We also require anyone recovering from COVID to wear a mask in the 6-10 day window after testing positive. Likewise, anyone who has been recently exposed should wear a mask.”

For the record, since September of the school year in the Scarsdale District, 1,073 students, 110 teachers, and 149 staff, 1,332 have reported positive with covid of  5,184 total students and teachers. This is a school wide population positive % over 8-1/2 months of 26%

The White Plains Schools issued this statement on safety today after the CDC announcement:

“Due to the increase in COVID-19 throughout our region, WPCSD strongly encourages all members of the WPCSD education community to wear masks when in closed public settings.

We continue to monitor our schools and remain in close contact with our state and local health officials. If we need to increase additional mitigation measures, we will communicate immediately.

Starting this week, antigen testing will be sent home with your children, on Thursday/Friday of each week, until the end of the school year. We strongly recommend that you screen your child on Sunday or Monday before sending them to school.

As we approach the end of the school year and gather to celebrate our students’ accomplishments, it’s important that we protect our students, staff, and keep our community at large safe.”

Note: though the White Plains, district is “encouraging”  mask wearing in public closed settings, they are not mandating mandatory masks in schools yet with six weeks to go in the school year.

For the record the Covid School Covid Report reports that from September through May 16, today, the White Plains City School District has  2,201 students, teachers and staff test positive for a total student, teacher and staff universe of  7,974, a percentage of 28%.

In the last two weeks of school, White Plains has reported 159 students, teachers and staff testing positive  (110 students,25 teachers, 24 staff) from May 10 to 16 , and in the first 7 days, May 3 to 10, 47 students, 12 teachers and 7 staff.

Let’s go next door to Harrison, that school district has 2,575 students and faculty and in 8-1/2 months they have experienced  1,092 positives, 42% of the district universe. Even if they have more staff than just teachers, their percentage of positives would still be spreading in the mid 30s % as socialization in the  balmy weather continues.

Well spreading in the schools is not going to stop.

At the present continuance of no masking behavior these weekly growing rates will sustain themselves most likely,  Because no leader in the county of any city, town, or village is moving to tell people what they must do to slow the spread and enforcing preventive spread practices.

Across Westchester County, this school spread is more instructive over 8-1/2 months about what practices or failure to do things may be contributing significantly to Red Tide.

In all the public school districts in Westchester County, 29,350 students teachers and staff have tested positive since September.

In the last two weeks May 3 to May 16, 3,323  students have tested positive across the county–1,697  tested positive  the last 7 days, with 510  of them positive the week of may 3 to 10.

It also points that by giving the 2nd week first the chart creates the  impression, whether intentional or not,  that in the two weeks is going down when it is exactly the opposite. The stats are given like this for every county and district in the state on the State School Covid Report.

SuffolkNassau, Dutchess, Orange and Putnam counties are also considered high risk transmission areas. Rockland County is at a medium level. 

It’s the percentage of positives that is going up, up and away.

For the first time since late December and early January, all 9 counties around New York City are averaging  10% positive rates.

Westchester tested 3,989 persons Sunday, and 469 tested positive according to the Covid Tracker. (The state figures issued in Governor Hochul’s briefing reported a higher figure, but this may contain tests the moving average does not count.)

The Westchester County Covid Tracker.

The latest analysis of Westchester County new cases of covid, town by town, city to city, from dense to  sprawling gentry enclaves from Yonkers to Somers New Rochelle to Cortlandt reveals a spread that is a rising tide.

Every town and city is affected by this spread making every city and town and school district a place where you can get the disease IF YOU DO NOT TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF and others you are in contact.

White Plains has seen cases rise to 464 active cases the last two weeks with 59 new cases a day according to the County Covid-19 map.

MAY 15, 2022 CITY/TOWNS WHERE COVID GROWING FASTEST SINCE APRIL 15

       MAY 15  CITY/TOWN    ACTIVE NEW CASES   NEW EACH DAY     % UP # 4/15   

  1. YONKERS  —                     1,049                          151                  300% FROM 356
  2. NEW ROCHELLE                 469                            66                   200% FROM 221
  3. WHITE  PLAINS                  464                            59                    350% FROM 126
  4. NEW,NORTH CASTLES       442                          49                      400% FROM 71
  5. GREENBURGH                     400                          39                     300% FROM 130
  6. YORKTOWN                         376                          46                     400% FROM 89
  • MOUNT PLEASANT           352                           34                       400% FROM 86  
  • MOUNT VERNON              351                           97                       NO FACTOR 4/15
  • MAM’NECKS/ LARCH         304                          44                       300%  FROM 103
  • CORTLANDT                        298                           19                      NO FACTOR 4/15
  • HARRISON                           265                           56                      374% FROM 72
  • RYE CITY/RYE BRK              256                           50                        240% FROM 107
  • TARRYT/SLEEPY HOL         243                           14                         300% FROM 81
  • OSSINING TWN/VILL         237                          49                          200% FROM 108
  • SCARSDALE                         207                          28                         NO FACTOR 4/15
  • BEDFORD                            190                          18                          400% FROM 45
  • SOMERS                               189                         15                          307% FROM 50
  • PEEKSKILL                            171                         22                           NO FACTOR 4/15
  • EASTCHESTER                      155                         17                           174% FROM 50
  • PORT CHESTER                    147                         22                            NO FACTOR 4/15

CITY/TOWN           NEW ACTIVE CASES      DAILY NEW           % INCREASE/# 4/15

What does this show in my opinion it  shows facts that chill:

The average increase from 4 weeks ago is very much the same for all the towns more than 100%,the majority as much as 300 to 400% in increases in 4 weeks.

Some cities are more careful than others, Peekskill and Port Chester for example though dense cities, have kept new cases down while Yonkers, New Rochelle White Plains and Mount Vernon have not.

The disease is infecting amazingly equal whether a community is heavily minority, heavily white,  or in the northern suburb estate communities. The greenbelt of real estate in Central Westchester is particularly hard hit.

 Because you are intelligent and positive and like to think you’re safe from covid and it is light case at best, we do not know that and are not being given facts that show that by the authorities who know the answer. So if it is true the disease makes us suffer less, put out the evidence, please.

I as a naive reporter would love to hear a Director Health say thing like: “We have good news on the serious of covid infections. Of the last 200 infection of covid hospitalized 90% stayed only 2 days… 5% were fully vaccinated. 10 per cent unvaccinated under 18s, etc. etc.

Wouldn’t statement delving into who caught it, what kind of person caught it, how long he or she stayed in vaccination status make you feel more confident? It would me.

Hospitalized have gone from 60 to 80 to 100 to 113 in four weeks, that is a 10% increase a week. They have doubled. And how long are they hospitalized for? Who is getting hospitalized the most? What are their ages, the demographics of the spread?

Please, do not suppress facts that can tell us where we are really at on this.

Please also note how fast these are growing daily now that more people are getting infected.

The numbers of new daily cases are inexorable, and remember each one of the new daily  cases infect 1 and ½ persons now.

The Red Tide is coming in and rising.

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REDISTRICTING REVOLUTION: IMPACT ON WESTCHESTER WITH FORMER ASSEMBLYMAN DAVID BUCHWALD LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS FORUM JUNE 2

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Former Assemblyman for White Plains David Buchwald Will Analyze
Finalized Redistricting Plans June 2.

WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2022. From the League of Women Voters. May 17, 2022:

2022 is shaping up to be one of the most confusing and consequential redistricting years in New York history. At stake are partisan control of Congress, the contours of our State Legislature, and the rights of voters.

Join us on THURSDAY June 2 at 7:00 p.m. for a Zoom discussion and to answer your questions focusing on what redistricting means for White Plains.

(Editor’s Note of Explanation at this early process: The Special Master appointed by the Court of Appeals, proposed redistricting plan for the State Senate Districts (top) and Congressional Districts below. The maps though ineptly drawn (I have to say that) were released Monday at 5 PM, and greeted with protest by Democrats for the redrawing along population lines. They are open for comment by the public to May 20, when the lines may be altered or rejected entirely. The immediate affect in Westchester on Congress is that Mondaire Jones will represent the northern half of Westchester if reelected in the newly drawn17th Congressional District, and Jamaal Bowman the sourthern half of Westchester (the new 16th Congressional District) taking away a significant portion of the constituencies that elected Jones and Bowman. The State Senate districts formerly 35 and 37 were renumbered are not defined clearly. Maps from WRFD Radio in Jamestown, NY)

The discussion will be lead by David Buchwald, our former State Assembly member (2013-2020) and White Plains Common Councilmember (2010-2012), and eight-year member of the Assembly Election Law Committee. 

Click the button above to register. 

Questions: Beth Kava bethkava@gmail.com

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GEDNEY ASSOCIATION VS. FASNY & CITY OF WHITE PLAINS APPEAL IS SCHEDULED FOR ARGUMENTS BEFORE APPELLATE COURT, 2nd Department in Brooklyn, JUNE 2. Where it Stands

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The NY State Appellate Division, 2nd Department, Brooklyn New York.
The FASNY case continues June 2

WPCNR WHITE PLAINS LAW JOURNAL. Special to WPCNR By Daniel Seidel, Esq. May 15, 2022:

The appeal (the SEQRA arguments and ok of the (former French American School of New York) project was stipulated as Withdrawn and accepted as so by the Court, as being moot – FASNY sold the property.

On Judge Joan Lefkowitz’s determination of what fits the definition of “institutional use” in the zoning allowed in the FASNY matter is scheduled for an argument before the 2nd Dept., in Brooklyn, on June 2.

I believe it is #14 on the docket and can be watched  live on what I call “AD2D TV”: the arguments for the day start at 10 a.m. – just click the arrow in the upper left corner:

 https://wowza.nycourts.gov/ad2/ad2.php 

You’ll see how the judges behave or not, question the lawyers, how the arguments are done.

The attorneya get up to 10 minutes to make their case and their is no rebuttal in this Court unless the judges ask for one.

Decisions by the Court are usually issued within 30 days after argument.

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Seidel represented the Gedney Association with Claudia Jaffee in the original appeal of the Lefkowitz decision which the Appellate Court agreed to hear. This update sets the scene for you as to where the case stands.)

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CDC TO GOVERNOR HOCHUL ON WESTCHESTER COVID SITUATION.

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“Today, I spoke with White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha about the state of the pandemic and the Administration’s preparation plans to ensure states have the resources, supplies, and distribution networks needed to manage potential surges across the country this summer and fall.

“We know that tools such as vaccines, boosters, testing and treatment have been critical to fighting COVID-19, responding to variants, keeping hospitalizations down, and saving lives. That is why I continue to call on Congress to pass additional federal funding, which will prove critical to helping states unlock further resources needed for future COVID-19 variants and surges.

“At the state level, we continue to make sure New Yorkers have access to these tools. We have already distributed more than 75 million over-the-counter COVID-19 tests to New Yorkers in recent months, and have stockpiled more for the future.

We continue to partner with the Administration to get more New Yorkers fully vaccinated and boosted, as well as promote treatment options available to a majority of adults that help prevent hospitalizations.

Additionally, I have asked my team for a full assessment from our state agencies on our overall future preparedness. Last Friday, I spoke with county executives about our state’s ongoing preparedness plans, and how we can work together to fulfill their needs on the ground.

“New York has long been at the forefront in the nation’s fight against COVID-19, and we will continue to keep New Yorkers safe, informed, and prepared.”

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