WPCNR SUNDAY-MONDAY CORNAVIRUS REPORT. News and Comment By John F. Bailey. Based on the New York State Vaccination Tracker and Covid Tracker statistics May 23 and May 24, 2021 UPDATED 10:30 PM EDT UPDATED MAY 24, 2021 4:30 PM EDT:
Since no county or state briefing has declared when either Westchester County or the Mid-Hudson region will be fully vaccinated for a normal fall, despite queries for just such an estimated figure by this reporter, from the records keepers who obviously can extrapolate and prognosticate with far better accuracy because they know how many children will not be vaccinated; they know the percentage people who have not signed up at all to get vaccinations.
It is withholding facts they know not saying how the obvious mammoth relentless vaccination effort is doing in getting the metro area ready for the fall, and “how it’s doing,” and most important who in the public is willingly choosing not to vax up–OR DELAYING GETTING A SHOT.
Westchester infections have declined by 87% since April 1: seven weeks of the vaccines rolling back the relentless Covid second wave that has lasted 4 months, rivaling the first wave in intensity and longer and harder to control.
This afternoon, County Executive George Latimer reported 18 new persons testing positive for Covid of 3,740 tested Sunday, an infection rate of .0048–less than half a percent. Mr. Latimer spoke of how infections had declined over the last 7 weeks. The number of 18 new test is the lowest number of new infections to date in the second wave, now apparently rolling out to sea.
The last time Westchester County had 18 positives was on July 18, 2020, when the county checked in with 12 infections.
Westchester County is maintaining an under 1% infection rate for the last 11 days ( an average of 3/4 of a percent new persons catching Covid a day). The news is welcome even though less persons are being tested or coming in for testing.
The County Executive said the county was opening new pop-up, no appointment needed locations, including a popup site at Highlands School in White Plains from 2 to 6 PM, on Tuesday (TOMORROW) in response to the new eligibility of 12 to 16 year olds now eligible for the vaccine.
The Westchester County Airport is also going to be giving vaccines from 3 to 7 PM in the baggage claim area of the Westchester County terminal for arriving and departing passengers but the location is open to all 12 years old and up for shots. No appointment is necessary. The passengers enplaning or disembarking will receive the one-shot only Johnson & Johnson vaccine, meaning you will not have to return for a second dose. Airport will supple the vaccines through Friday, May 28.
This apparent low number of infections resulting in new hospitalizations as low as 34 (63 last Monday) sets up the county well for the first three day weekend of the summer under some real pressure.
In the 10 days, May 13 through Saturday, May 22, there have been 458 new cases of covid, an average of 45 a day, which in 10 to 14 days could yield at a 5.5% hospitalization rate, a yield of 25 hospitalizations.
The hospitalization rate is not readily available from either state website trackers or county tracking, and it is not regularly available in briefings from state or county officials or county-by-county statistics from the state. It is low now and infections are down. If infections go up as the county opens up, the hospitalization rate is an important revealing stat. It should be reported daily.
What is misleading about just stating the number of hospitalizations going down as success in corralling the epidemic, and being positive about the lowering number of hospitalizations, is that when the number is not dropping or stays the same, as it did today as reported in the County Executive’s Monday afternoon Covid briefing, you do not know whether that meant more persons became hospitalized in the last two weeks than left the covid hospital treatment .
When you do not report the percentage of new hospitalizations and the number of covid hospitalizations discharged, the hospitalization number is not as meaningful. In the weeks ahead when people may be getting careless, infections will go up, more will be hospitalized. The public needs the Old Covid Hospitalizations-Out (OCHO) vs. New-Covid-Hospitalizations-In (NCHI) number. Then the public would see the percentage of new infections turning serious enough or continuing to decline and at what pace. This should have been done all along.
Coming up is the first “Anything Goes Almost” weekend. Followed by two more in July and Labor Day.
Westchesterers’ behavior will be the X-Factor.
With the blessing of the Center for Disease Control in ambiguous mixed messages on covid procedures this week and liberalizing of New York State Covid policies, the county continues heading into the summer’s first potential weekend spread across the county.
The county will experience its first weekend without outdoor masking requirements, loose social distancing and heavy crowds at beaches eager to get “normal” again. Sharply increased attendances at athletic, religious, and social events as well as restaurant and bar protocols for covid strictly up to owners of the establishments Will this turn into a “well done for Westchester” or a “Spring Break super outbreak” for responsible Weschesterites, or a “super spreader ” event?
Three weeks from tomorrow on June 14 we will begin to know the answer, At the present hospitalization rate running around 5.5.% of new covid cases in the county, the number hospitalized will be 23 on the week of June 14. Last Monday the hospitalizations were 63, 5.5% of infections from the two weeks before starting May 3.
So how is the amazing vaccination effort going?
On Saturday morning, the New York State Vaccination tracker reported 1,096, 702 of the 7-county Mid-Hudson region had received first shots.
Currently, the 7 counties are vaccinating 53,000 persons a week with second doses.
At this pace, it would take 20 weeks to vaccinate those 1,096,702 with second doses, meaning 20 weeks or 5 months before the Mid-Hudson region would be “fully” vaccinated. Children under 12 are not being vaccinated. A large number of persons not estimated by any official source have not come in for even their first shots; so if the number persons coming in for first shots keeps going up this is a good sign. If first shots continue to decline in numbers (so far they have not, and this is of course due to the lag in opening different age segments of the populations as eligible for the vaccine.
What does this mean?
The Mid-Hudson region, considering that currently children under 12 are not being vaccinated, and there is a segment of the population declining to be vaccinated or in no hurry to get even one shot, or waiting for them the universe of persons fully vaccinated eventually may only reach using statistics available yesterday would see approximately 914,677.
To vaccinate those 1,096,702 will take 20 weeks at the present 53,000 second shots a week, or until October. Or, say September, optimistically.
We have to redefine what the Mid-Hudson Region being “fully vaccinated” means;
Depending on how many residents adults and teenagers 12 to 16 of the 7 counties actually come in and get shots and how many teens 12 to 16 get shots. you will have less than 70% vaccinated by September. Now who is most liable to spread the disease, the younger people who are not vaccinated who are teenagers.
So, I am not medical expert, but I would guess that if by July,depending on the number of first shots administered the next 1-1/2 months and the percentage of teens and eligible adults remaining who have not come in for their shots, and who are not inclined to, the case could be made by mid-July the Mid-Hudson region is a “fully vaccinated” as it can be due to the reluctance of persons who are eligible but are either held back by vaccine-fearing parents or parents not believing the vaccines are needed.
Someone (perhaps the state health commissioner, the Governor, the Covid Senate assembly oversite committee will have to make that decision going into the July fourth weekend , New York State or Weschester County for that matter is fully vaccinated.
If everyone waiting now to get second doses gets them, you will hit 913,581 2-shots-received persons in the Mid-Hudson Region by December, 1.3 Million short of the 2.3 Million population of the 7-county Mid-Hudson Region. That is about 50%–even counting those not eligible for the shot, or just declining to get them.
Those are the stats we need to figure what the at-risk population by choice risk factor is.
In Westchester, my calculation is you will hit 50% of the population vaccinated by June 20. With 478,976 already with a complete series as of yesterday, and 564,566 persons with one first shot, at the average rate of 15,000 vaccinations a day in the county at the county’s various locations and popup locations, you should see all 564,566 of those awaiting second shots vaccinated in 37 days taking you out June 20-27.