Why the second wave of coronavirus may not be as bad as the first (analysis)
STATEN ISLAND, NY – The numbers are scary.
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are increasing across the country, including Staten Island.
Things had stabilized here during the summer and early fall after a horrific and deadly spring. New cases and hospitalizations have always been reported, but not as many as we saw during the darker days of the pandemic.
We’re not back to those horrible days yet, and maybe never will be, but recent numbers have definitely taken a turn no one wants to see.
There has been a steady increase in new cases and hospitalizations, and more frequent cases where the number of reported cases, hospitalizations and confirmed deaths all increased on the same day.
Two months agoOn September 16, 15,358 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Staten Island during the duration of the pandemic. As of Monday, November 16, that number rose to 18,488, an increase of 3,130 cases.
That same day in September, there were 11 people in the district’s hospitals with COVID-19. As of Monday, that number rose to 88.
On September 16, it was confirmed that 901 residents of the borough had died from the virus. Two months later, the number rose to 921.
Should we be worried? Yes.
Should we panic? Maybe not.
While the pandemic is by no means over, this wave of coronavirus is not yet shaping up to be the same one we saw in the spring.
Doctors have told Advance in recent weeks that they have learned a lot about the virus since april and that there are more treatments available today than there was then. As the number of hospitalizations increases, medical professionals here say that the district health system can take charge.
Additionally, doctors say COVID patients are getting younger and younger lately. This keeps the death rate lower than what we saw earlier, when older bedridden patients, many of whom have health comorbidities, succumbed to the virus.
Medical experts here don’t believe the numbers will reach the horrific levels seen in April, when 554 Staten Islanders were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Unlike spring also, COVID-19 no longer surprises us. Governor Andrew Cuomo said a month ago that it would be difficult for the state to maintain its low rates of COVID positivity once people moved indoors with the cooler weather. He said virus micro-clusters would appear. He was right.
And as Mayor Bill de Blasio has said almost daily, at least part of the increase in cases can be attributed to the massive amount of virus testing taking place. On November 13, the city tested more than 75,000 people for COVID-19, a record.
With the increase in testing, the mayor said on Monday, “of course you are going to see more positive cases.”
What also works in our favor is that the city’s public schools have not been the virus-spreading environments that many feared. From October 9 to November 12, the city tested 123,585 school staff and students. Only 228 tests came back positive, a rate of 0.19%.
And while there have been individual school closures across the city, the system remains open for now and the city has yet to surpass the 3% positivity rate that could trigger a switch to distance learning.
More optimistic, there have been some good reports of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna recently. The closer we are to a vaccine, the more we can return to a “normal” life.
Cons and concerns remain. We are told that we cannot get together with large groups of loved ones for Thanksgiving. We could be in the same boat for Christmas and New Years.
New restrictions were imposed on Staten Island and other parts of the state after test positivity rates reached too high. Some restrictions, such as closing restaurants and gyms at 10 p.m., make little sense to some.
Yet we haven’t seen the total closures and stay-at-home orders that were imposed in the spring. We are told Democrat Joe Biden, the alleged next President of the United States, is not considering blanket national shutdowns as part of a coronavirus response.
We’re still not at the point where we can stop taking precautions. So, masks, social distancing, and hand washing will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. Large gatherings are still out of the question for the moment.
But while the coronavirus numbers have taken a negative turn lately, we don’t appear to be on the same road as we were earlier this year. There may still be some COVID darkness to walk through, but at least now we know our way a little better.