THE MASKLIFT AHEAD: WESTCHESTER HAS LOWEST COVID POSITIVES IN WEEK IN 8 MONTHS—597 FROM FEB 20 TO 27, 85 NEW PERSONS TESTING POSITIVE A DAY. 1,208 NEW CASES TWO WEEKS AGO INFECTED 597 PEOPLE LAST WEEK, 50% Spread Rate
WPCNR CORONA VIRUS MONITOR. From the New York State Covid Tracker and School Covid Case Report. Analysis and Commentary by John F. Bailey:
Westchester County had its most effective week in containing covid since the week of July 11 to 17 when just after Westchester began its resurgence of Covid’s second wave that built in a huge December surge in cases with masking in place.
The Saturday covid figure for Westchester County in yesterday from the state recorded 55 new persons testing positive bringing the total for the week of February 20 to 27 to 597 new cases or 85 new cases a day.
When you look at the infections two weeks ago from February 6 to 12 there were 1,208 persons in Westchester County who tested positive, who two weeks later have spread the virus to 597 other people. This means positives in the last two weeks spread the disease to 50% more people (597 divided by 1,208 is .49 –50% each infecting half a person).
The hospitalizations reported yesterday by County Executive George Latimer as of Monday was 85 down from 677 a month ago. So this tells us people may be getting infected with covid but getting less sick.
Now the one factor that schools opening tomorrow without a state-required masking mandate have to be wary of is how many students will be sent back to school not wearing masks. Or those with masks, not keeping them in place correctly.
In the case of the White Plains Schools we have track record provided by the State School Covid Report. (Similar records are available for every school district. ) They are instructive.
According to the February 28 State Schools Covid Report White Plains schools saw 1,738 students, teachers and administrators– 22% of the district 7,964 universe of 6,792 students, 699 teachers and 473 staff employees since September when students, teachers administrators were masked, socially distancing, teachers, administrators 80% vaccinated or more, In 6 months of school in a highly covid-protective environment, you had 1,738 covid positives or 289 a month, 72 a week.
The number of students testing positive in 6 months through February 28 is 1,412 of 6,792 (21%). A total of 985 elementary students tested positive. In Middle School, 173 tested positive and in the high school, 254.
Teachers who tested positive numbered 179. Staff testing positive totaled 147.
What that tells us is that masking did a lot to limit infections, but still infections persisted. It might be argued that there might have been a lot more if there was no masking;
Going ahead, Superintendent of Schools Joseph Ricca and the school reopening committee have to decide if they can without violating state directives whatever they may be, what protocols to keep according to Department of Health regulations.
Testing, for example there has to be a lot more to see the effects of the socialization the next 6 weeks of socializing March, 4 full weeks of school to see whether or not infections are on the upswing quickly or confirm that spread of the disease is at least even with the present rate. The schools in White Plains will have to test more The school only tested 66 Monday.
The 22% infections over the first 6 months even in a community-supportive environment indicates this policy of masklifting by the state is a gamble to please the public and do what so many parents want. It has not worked in the last 4 waves.
The last time the leaders in Albany and the then governor opened this up, covid started up again in July and has not let up even with masking.
Westchester has covid at low tide again.
The White Plains School District has made masks “optional.” The schools will respect parents’ decisions on whether to send their students in with masks or without.
Human behavior is the key to keeping covid where it is and continue its decline.
If we do not behave responsibly in the way we recreate, socialize, shop, eat out, attend events, and celebrate in this spring socializing season coming up a 5th wave will happen. That’s the history of this Red Plague.
Westchester has stopped covid four times, each time relaxing and letting Covid come back again. Let us keep it stopped with responsible behavior.