Tigers, Kings and COVID, Oh My!
The coronavirus crisis, in its power to grab hold of the focus of our culture, had no competition: everything else instantly became unimportant and irrelevant. That changed this week, as Tiger King, a surreal, stranger-than-fiction docu-series about American big cat owners, managed to wrestle a part of the zeitgeist for itself. It seemed as though the coronavirus and the Tiger King were running side by side as parallel narratives, unencumbered by each other. But, all plot lines are bound to emulsify in this crazy dystopic stew: the jailed King of tigers gets quarantined for COVID, and a tiger tested positive in the Bronx Zoo. Read More about the Bronx Tiger in ABC7.
City on the Edge
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned April 5 as a date where the city could possibly run out of ventilators without support of some kind. Today, we can say we received enough to cover us, but only ‘until Tuesday or Wednesday’. The razor’s edge gets longer, and sharper.
One of the odder aspects of the current crisis is that, in some ways, it’s mind-bogglingly simple: the city needs several products, and it doesn’t have them, so it’s moving mountains to get them from wherever it can and move around what it has, hoping not to run out. The consequences of this simple problem are dire: if the current status of the virus can be measured by its death toll, no factor contributes more directly to that number than the stock of ventilators and PPE.
As of tonight, according to the projections coming out of the Mayor’s office, the city needs 1,000 to 1,500 ventilators to meet the need from Wednesday to Sunday, and Governor Cuomo mentions a larger target of 15,000 ventilators to get through April and May.
The city has 135.
- On Saturday, Governor Cuomo announced that China, coordinated by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, sent the city 1000 ventilators, which were scheduled to arrive at JFK today.
- The Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, sent 140 ventilators as well, saying “we must do all that we can to help those on the front lines of this response”.
- Governor Cuomo issued an executive order on Friday giving him the ability to seize ventilators from private companies or private stockpiles. No reports of this being used yet.
- Mayor de Blasio said today that, of his ask for 1450 medical personnel from the military, the city has received 291: 174 nurses, 104 doctors, and 13 respiratory therapists.
- The city has put out a request over the last several days for volunteer nurses and medical support, most prominently in a letter in the New York Times, saying, “There is only one way to save as many lives as we possibly can. It is by getting every doctor, nurse and health care worker involved in this fight — and moving them, with precision, to the right place at the right time.”
- The New England Patriots flew 300,000 N95 masks to New York City on Friday, prompting the New York Post to begrudgingly print on its cover:
- The Knicks and Nets, along with the NBA, worked with China’s consul general Huang Ping to donate 1,000,000 surgical masks, which arrived in the city on Saturday.
- MTA workers received 250,000 N95 masks from the city, prompting corrections officers to once again demand their own supply of PPE. Read more in the Daily News.
In the last week, several nurses and hospital staff have come forward with descriptions of the fight against COVID-19, describing a lack of PPE, long hours, and sick coworkers.
- I’m a Nurse at the Epicenter of this Pandemic (Medium)
- NYC nurses protest outside hospital for coronavirus gear (Daily News)
- Today’s FAQ.NYC interview is Sarah Dowd, a nurse at Harlem Hospital, where the healthcare workers are going to issue a list of demands to government officials on Monday, April 6th. Of the current situation in health care Sarah says: “We cannot flex up, because we have been cut down to the bone.” Listen to the interview here.
The Facts About COVID-19
- Going into this week, the most important thing to know about COVID-19 is ‘asymptomatic transfer’: the capability of a person infected with COVID-19 to transmit and spread the virus while not feeling any symptoms. For this reason, all levels of government have recommended the use of face coverings and face masks in all public places, in order to prevent accidental spread by unknowing carriers.
- N95-level masks are not necessary: in fact, N95 masks should all be directed to hospital staff. Simple face coverings like bandannas or scarves would suffice.
- Of course, continue to observe hand-washing, sanitization, and social distancing practices.
- The New York Times reported that 10 homeless people have died as a result of COVID-19, and that the city has rented 500 hotel rooms for homeless people who have tested positive in order to isolate them.
- The total number of homeless people who have tested positive was 168 on Friday.
- Read more in the New York Times.
- Governor Cuomo says there is ‘no plan to reduce crowding in state prisons.’
- A Queens Eagle report from inside the city’s only private prison: ‘I feel scared for my life.’
- A group called the Emergency Release Fund has begun crowdsourcing funds to bail out Rikers Island inmates. The group has raised $18000 since March 23, and bailed out five inmates as of March 30; the average donation has been $20. Read more at Buzzfeed News.
- The Jackson Houses project in The Bronx reported a water outage yesterday, leaving the 2000 residents unable to wash their hands. Read more in the Daily News.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s mother died on Friday morning, from complications due to COVID-19.
|Friday 4/17, 1pm||Monday 4/20, 2:30pm|
|– The Bronx||27014||29505|
|– Staten Island||9166||9986|
|Confirmed Deaths||7890(NYC) / 8893(NYS)||9101(NYC) / 10022(NYS)|
This weekend: 1200+ deaths