The Big Story: ICU Numbers, or lack thereof
We’ve come to rely on regular updates on the spread of the virus from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, so it was a surprise today when we found out, along with the rest of the media, that the Mayor’s office would no longer be providing the number of coronavirus cases in intensive care. Not only did he not proactively announce this, he rebuffed the Wall Street Journal’s Katie Honan when asked directly, saying he “didn’t want to give information that could at one point not be accurate.”
We think this is important for two reasons. First, the Mayor’s office has made early and repeated declarations of transparency throughout this crisis, and this represents a major and noticeable step back from that goal. The consequences of a lack of transparency are dire in this environment: silence is perceived by some as a sign things are fine, and by others as a sign that things are worse than reported. As Governor Cuomo said just this morning, the same day the Mayor’s office began hiding these numbers, “not having the facts is worse, because it’s when you start to feel out of control.”
Second, not having ICU numbers prevents us from calculating two key statistics: the ICU Rate (or percentage of total COVID-19 cases in the ICU) and the dwindling capacity of NYC hospitals (or, percentage of available hospital beds remaining). Both are statistics called out specifically by state and city leadership as key metrics to watch, and now both are unverifiable.
Here’s more reporting on this in The Post.
- ELMHURST, QUEENS: The Mayor said today that “Elmhurst Hospital in Queens is the epicenter within the epicenter.”
- For several days now, Queens has led the borough in positive COVID-19 cases.
- The Mayor said that today the city sent 40 ventilators and 50 staff members to replenish the Queens hospital.
- MOUNT SINAI, MANHATTAN: David Begnaud, a correspondent for CBS this morning tweeted out photos of Mount Sinai, sent to him by an unnamed NYC doctor. They are setting up “patient pods in public spaces.”
- More Temporary Hospitals in NYC in addition to the Jacob Javits Center.
- The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the Aqueduct Racetrack facility in Queens, CUNY Staten Island, and the NY Expo Center in the Bronx.
Cuomo said he would be visiting 4 new hospital sites in NYC tomorrow, Friday, March 27th.
- Gothamist put together a summary of what the new $2 trillion federal stimulus bill actually means for New Yorkers.
COVID-19 PSA Posters
Recovering Drug Addicts
- FAQ.NYC asked the Mayor what plans they had for substance-dependent New Yorkers: the Health Commissioner said there are policies in place and that they haven’t “heard of any issues there,” however, the Daily News reported that clinics were not giving recovering addicts there methadone to take home.
- There are hazards to having so many people crowd clinics for their daily dose, but taking large amounts home poses problems as well. Methadone can still get people high, and if someone takes more than prescribed this could cause an issue if they try to re-up early.
- People on the Methadone treatment program who are symptomatic do need access to the medication. So far we have seen no coordination between clinics and the city in regard to this growing problem.
- An advocacy group, VocalNY tweeted this video of a recovering addict struggling with the methadone delivery system:
The New York Press
- Friend of FAQ.NYC & Racket NYC Todd Maisel, multimedia journalist, was diagnosed with COVID-19. Read his story here in AMNY, and check out his work at his website: he’s one of the greats.
- The NYPD reports the first death among their staff from COVID-19.
- According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, “as of last night 200 inmates have been released.” NYC has now dipped below 5K in the jail system which the Mayor pointed out was the lowest it has been since World War 2.
- The Mayor said that by tonight an additional 175 will be released
- Total Inmates released 375 by end of day (Thursday, March 26th)
- Jail Population as of this Morning: 4,906
- Teenagers are suing to get out of jail. Social distancing measures they say are “effectively impossible,” in jail. Read more in The City.
- A judge has released 16 inmates from Rikers, claiming that detaining them at all during this outbreak is a violation of due process. Read more in the Queens Daily Eagle..
- “The city is sending homeless shelter residents and public hospital patients with coronavirus to hotels — but won’t say where.” Reports Greg B. Smith for The City.
Here is how to donate to stuff or volunteer if you want
- How to Donate to NYC, from The City
- Produce or Donate Supplies to the City, NYC’s official supply donation platform.
- Volunteer to hand out food
- Both Senator Jessica Ramos, and Queens Daily Eagle Managing Editor David Brand tweeted the same-ish joke about the Mets. We thought it was nice.
|Wednesday, 6pm||Thursday, 9:30am||Thursday, 5pm|
|– The Bronx||8607||9107||9343|
|– Staten Island||2552||2723||2822|
Below are several great resources, city, national, and internationally focused, that bring together various data sources about the pandemic. We’ll keep adding to this list.
- The City’s COVID-19 TRACKER
- A high schooler in Washington State assembled various international data sources in this well organized dashboard.
- Politico is doing a nightly national roundup of news concerning COVID-19