BEFORE MASKLIFT TAKES FULL EFFECT–WESTCHESTER NEW COVID CASES RISE 20% IN WEEK AFTER 6 WEEKS OF SHARP DECLINES IN NEW CASES.

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WPCNR CORONAVIRUS MONITOR.  From New York State Covid Tracker. Analysis by John F. Bailey. March 7, 2022:

The number of Westchesterites coming down with Covid last week went up for the first time in six weeks from Sunday February 27 to March 5,

Infections for the week went up 20% from 597 the previous week to 754. The rise cannot be attributed  directly to Governor Kathy Hochul’s Sunday February 27 announcement that masks did not have to be worn in businesses or schools (with school masklift policy taking effect March 2).

Previously, the last six weeks Westchester had reduced weekly infections from 26,000 to an 8-month low of 554 the week before last.

Pressure to relax the mask mandate in business and schools increased significantly the last two weeks and number of infections cited by the New York State Health Department had declined to the point where the Health Department and the Governor had the confidence to lift mask requirements in businesses and schools.

The CDC advisory that persons did not have to wear masks outdoors apparently gave persons a lot of confidence because few persons were masking outdoors on the Playland Boardwalk last week when this reporter walked there. Last week in a restaurant I attended with  wife and a friend of ours the only persons wearing masks in the jammed restaurant (on a Tuesday evening)  we walked in wearing masks and saw no one other than hostess and server personnel wearing masks. It was shocking to see.

The numbers in the chart at the top of this column could reflect the return of persons from the school vacation week in Westchester last week bring in the disease from elsewhere, but that is speculative.

The coming weeks in March will  test vaccine effectiveness in slowing the disease the last six weeks.

The March NCAA Tournament will pack bars with viewers. The St. Patricks Day holiday will continue socializations. The masklift in schools will have 5 days a week for 4 weeks in March to be tested as to whether students and parents will not inflate positives.

Westchester now enters a period exactly similar to last year when relaxed social distancing procedures were not affected in the spreading thanks to vaccinations arrival, supressing the spread of the disease enough so schools could open for in-school learning again.

As parks opened, and outdoor activities increased in June, new infections ran an average of under 30 in that month.

New infections began to go up slowly in July  after the July weekend, then grew to 150  a day average  in August.

The infections continued to creep up steadily and gaining momentum to 200 a day in September after Labor Day. They declined to around 75 average a day in October  then climbed in November back to 175 then to 300 a day in the week after Thanksgiving.

 Then the onslaught of infections started 2 weeks later after Thanksgiving, with  11,450 infections the week before Christmas, followed by 26,002 infections the week after Christmas; 25,294 the first week of this year and Westchester cut infections  the last 6 weeks until this week when the county went up to 754 for the week Saturday.

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