IT’S OFFICIAL WESTCHESTER COVID INFECTIONS DOWN 43 % IN 2 WEEKS. 4th STRAIGHT WEEK OF DECLINES AFTER CASES INCREASED 10 OF 16 WEEKS SINCE APRIL 1.

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WPCNR CORONA VIRUS REPORT. From New York State Covid Tracker. Observation & Analysis By John F. Bailey. August 14, 2022 UPDATED GRAPHIC 9:22 A.M. August 15,2022 EDT:

In the week August 7, ending Saturday August 13, 1,664 persons tested positive for covid, down 19% (398 LESS NEW CASES) from last week. It was the first 4th straight week of significant declines in 16 weeks.

Last week July 31 through August 6, Westchester had 2062 new cases of covid (Lab confirmed tests). that decline was 20%. The week of July 17 to 24, recorded 2,360 new cases, down from 2,512 cases July 10 to 16, a decline of 3%. On the week The 4 weeks in a row are a positive sign..

After Friday’s infections were reported as 214 new cases of 2,964 tested Friday, Saturday figures followed that trendline, recording only 189 cases below the 263 cases recorded a week ago Saturday.

The County found 1,664 new covid cases a week 237 new infections a day compared compared to 2062 (295 new covid cases a day) last week ( July 31 through August 6), this represents a 19% decline in infections, following a 20% decrease in cases last week.

A fourth straight week of decline was the first time this phenomena has happened since April 1.

More significantly, the infection rate despite the low number of tests (PCR –lab certified tests averaged 2,816 tests a day for the 6 days previous to Saturdat he 16,896 tests yielded 1,475 new cases through Friday for an infection rate of 8.7% down from last week when 2,052 infections in 21,065 PCR LAB TESTS resulted in a a 9.7% infection rate. The Westchester infection rate in the week just completed was 7%

Another takeaway is the midweek surge in infections that has been observed by this reporter for the last sixteen weeks. The week ending yesterday saw new positives decline significantly from last week on Thursday and Friday down 100 THURSDAY AND 37 on Friday, the first time the midweek surge has not been sustained 4 days.

WPCNR attributes this to persons taking at home tests, seeing a positive and coming in to verify they are positive to a PCR Lab testing clinic or venue, after showing symptoms.

Nevertheless this may be the first positive semi control of the spread of covid in 3 and a half months.

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WHITE PLAINS WEEK THE REPORT OF FRIDAY AUGUST 12 –TRANSCRIPT.

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THE HEADLINES:

AS MONKEY POX SPREADS IN NY.  STUDIES ON THE JYENNOS MONKEY POX VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS IN STOPPING MONKEYPOX NEW INFECTIONS IS  INCLUSIVE BASED ON ROLLOUTS IN EUROPE ACCORDING TO OBSERVATIONS BY YOUR LOCAL EPIDEMOLOGIST DR. KATELIN JETELINA. THE TRACKING OF THE JYENNOS ROLLOUT IS STILL CONDUCTED AND ANALYZED THE VERDICT ITS ABILITY TO STOP THE INFECTIONS MIXED.

INFLATION HAS BEEN SLOWED IN JULY AS ANNUAL CONSUMER PRICE INDEX LOWERED TO 8.5% AFTER 9.1% IN JUNE.  AFTER AND DEDUCTING FUEL FOOD COSTS

ELECTRICITY RATES SOARED  IN JULY TO 22 CENTS A KILOWATT HOUR IN THE HOTTEST MONTH YOU AND I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.

FOR SUSTAINABLE WESTCHESTER CUSTOMERS IT WILL BE HIGHER IN AUGUST THAN IT WAS IN JULY. DELIVERY COSTS 15 CENTS A KILOWATT HOUR AND ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AN ESTIMATED 9 TO 10 CENTS.  USAGE DOUBLED

DISTRICT ATTORNEY MIMI ROCAH ANNOUNCED ARRESTS OF YONKERS RESIDENTS ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED IN TRAFFICKING GHOST GUNS FROM WASHINGTON D.C.  TO YONKERS

WESTCHESTER COUNTY WAS RECORDED BY THE STATE WITH 10,298 NEW CASES OF COVID IN JULY –THE THIRD STRAIGHT MONTH OF 10,000 INFECTIONS A MONTH.

HOWEVER THE RATE OF NEW CASES HAS DECLINED 22% THE FIRST 3 DAYS OF THIS WEEK TO 679—DOWN ONE THIRD, BUT TESTINGS ARE ALSO DOWN WHILE THE NEW INFECTIONS OF THOSE OFFICIAL LAB TESTS STILL AVERAGED 9%

THIS JUST IN: THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION REPORTED ANTEGEN AT-HOME TESTS ARE FOUND TO SHOW A HIGH PROPORTION OF “NEGATIVE” RESULTS

AND A FORMER PRESIDENT INVOKED THE 5TH AMENDMENT SAYING “SAME ANSWER” TO EVERY ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES QUESTION IN HIS DEPOSITION IN MS. JAMES FRAUD HEARING.

THAT APPEARANCE BY THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES INVOKING THE FIFTH AMENDMENT THAT ALLOWS A PERSON TO BE PERMITTED TO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS ON THE GROUNDS THEY MIGHT INCRIMINATE THEMSELVES, RECALLS TO MIND THE ESTES KEFAUVER HEARINGS IN THE 1950S. THOSE INVOLVED ALLEGED MEMBERS OF CRIME FAMILIES IN THE 1950S, EXCEPT THOSE GENTLEMEN DID NOT INSULT THE SENATORS’ QUESTIONS. THOSE ALEDGED MOBSTERS JUST READ THE 5TH AMENDMENT.

WITH THE FORMER PRESIDENT, IT WAS INDEED THE PRESIDENTIAL PERFORMANCE WE HAVE WITNESSED FOR YEARS FROM MR. T USING A LEGAL INQUIRY TO HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE. HE MOCKED THE PROCEDURE: HIS STATEMENT WAS COMBATIVE, BELITTLING AN IMPORTANT WOMAN, LETITIA JAMES, THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL. VERY NOSTALGIC.

THIS INFLATION TAMING AMAZING, IN JUST ONE WEEK WE HAVE GONE FROM PRICES RISING DISASTROUSLY TO INFLATION STOPPED?

IT’S AMAZING IN ONE WEEK—AS FAST AS GASOLINE AND FUEL PRICES WENT UP FROM APRIL THROUGH JULY— THEY CAME DOWN TO 4. 29 A GALLON. WHAT PATRIOTISM BY THE OIL COMPANIES.  WHY DID THEY HAVE TO RAISE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE…COULDN’T THEY HAVE HAVE NOT DOUBLED GASOLING PRICES, BLAMING SUPPLY? 

THIS TURNS PRESIDENT BIDEN FROM OLD GOAT TO INFLATION FIGHTING SUPERHERO. I LOVE WASHINGTON NUMBERS WHEN THEY NEED THEM.

 I READ A GOP WEB PUBLICATION WITH THE HEADLINE, “NOW TIME TO GET AMERICA BACK ON TRACK.” REALLY? HOW DUMB IS THAT.  

IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOT SEEING A PERFECT CAMPAIGN SLOGAN STOLEN FROM THEM?

BUT WAIT THERE IS HOPE FOR THE DEMOCRATS FROM JOHN BAILEY THE ADVERTISING MAN.  THE BELEGUERED BIDEN IN A MASTER STROKE CAN NOW SEIZE A MUCH BETTER LINE AND I CONTRIBUTE IT WITHOUT FEE:

BUT SERIOUSLY JOHN MARINO, INFLATION IS RAGING ON THE ELECTRICITY FRONT

IN COUNTY EXECUTIVE LATIMER’S COVID BRIEFING HE SAID COVID IS NEITHER UP NOR DOWN. BUT  IT IS DOWN THE FIRST FOUR DAYS OF THIS WEEK. DOWN FROM 868 THE FIRST THREE DAYS LAST WEEK TO 679 THIS WEEK, 27% DOWN TO 226 NEW LAB CERTIFIED CASES A DAY AND 250 ON THURSDAY. IF WE DO NOT SEE A HUGE MIDWEEK JUMP WEDNESDAY THURSDAY AND FRIDAY IF THAT CONTINUES WE COULD HAVE AS LITTLE AS 1,582 INFECTIONS FOR THE WEEK A DROP OF 20%.

BUT JOHN MARINO, THE NUMBER OF LAB CERTIFIED  TESTINGS IS DOWN  10% IF THAT CONTINUES, YOU WILL HAVE A SELF-FULFILLING RESULT OF LOWER COVID INFECTIONS IF YOU DO NOT REQUIRE PUBLIC LAB TESTING.

THE PROBLEM IS THE LOWER INFECTIONS BUT HIGH 9% INFECTION RATE OF THESE LOW QUANTITIES MEANS THERE MAY BE A LOT MORE “GHOST CASES” OUT THERE WALKING AROUND WITH IT.

IF YOU TESTED 5,000 A DAY AT 10% INFECTION RATES THAT IS 50 A DAY OR 2,500 A WEEK NEW CASES, NOT 1500. THIS RELIANCE ON THE AT HOME TESTS ANTEGEN TESTS, OPERATING UNDER THE HONOR SYSTEM OF PEOPLE TESTING POSITIVE QUARANTINING OR WORSE NOT GOING IN FOR A LAB TEST ARTIFICIALLY LOWERS INFECTION NUMBERS. 

THE REINFECTION RATE OF 6% BASED ON THE 10,000 JULY INFECTIONS MEANS OVER THE NEXT 6 WEEKS YOU MAY HAVE 600 ADDITIONAL REINFECTIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF SEPTEMBER OF REINFECTEES. SPEAKING OF SCHOOLS SHOULDN’T WE BE MORE CAREFUL?

JOHN MARINO, WE HAD A VERY TIMELY INTRODUCTION OF A NEW PROGRAM TO PREVENT EVICTIONS AND CONTAIN RENT INCREASES FOR LANDLORDS WITH SMALL BUILDINGS, COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER ANNOUNCED IT THIS WEEK:

COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER ON THE LANDLORD TENENTS PROGRAM. CLICK LEFT ARROW TO SEE.

JohN MARINO: I THINK THIS IS VERY TIMELY

JOHN BAILEY: ABSOLUTELY ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY EVICTIONS ARE RAMPANT BECAUSE THE URIAH HEEPS OF THE NATION ARE RAISING RENTS AND PEOPLE ARE SCRAMBLING, LIVING IN CARS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTED YESTERDAY AND NOW THE COUNTY IS GIVING INCENTIVE TO KEEP THE WESTCHESTER ECONOMY AT LEAST LIMPING ALONG.

HERE IS A CHANCE FOR LANDLORDS TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT FOR THEIR TENANTS BY MAKING NEEDED REPAIRS UP O $25,000 A UNIT. I WONDER THOUGH IF THAT IS ENOUGH INCENTIVE TO STOP THE LURE OF THE MONTHLY RENT.

HOW LONG DOES THE RENT HAVE TO BE KEPT STABLE IS THE QUESTION.  THIS IS A REAL TEST OF CONSCIENCE AND HUMANITY FOR THE LANDLORDS BUT IT IS VERY TIMELY AND CREATIVE.

REMEMBER THAT NUMBER 914-995-2429 914-995-2429. LANDLORDS THE COUNTY LINES ARE OPEN AND YOU HAVE THE EMAIL. THE TIME IS NOW AND JOHN HOW  ARE THE PRIMARIES SHAPING UP IN THE 16TH HERE IN WHITE PLAINS WHERE VEDAT GASHI JUST GOT A KEY ENDORSERSEMENT

JOHN MARINO NOTED THAT THE NITA LOWEY EMDORSEMENT OF VEDAL GASHI FOR THE 16TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT THIS WEEK WAS VERY GOOD FOR HIM AND ALSO NOTED JAMAL BOWMAN HAD NOT BEEN RUNNING A VERY VISIBLE CAMPAIGN RELYING ON PREVIOUS TELEVISION SPOTS.

10 DISTRICT 16 AND 17

(JOHN BAILEY ASKSJ) YOU HAVE SOME EARLY NUMBERS ON THE HOCHUL ZELDIN RACE..DO WE BELIEVE THEM?

JOHN MARINO COMMENTED THAT GOVERNOR HOCHUL, ACCORDING TO A SIENNA COLLEGE POLL, LEAD MR. ZELDIN, THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE BY 14% WITH THREE MONTHS TO GO TO THE ELECTION AND THOUGHT THIS WAS TOO MUCH OF A MARGIN TO MAKE UP. HE SAID THE POLL ALSO SHOWED IN THE DISTRICT 17 RACE, THAT SEAN PATRICT MALONY WAS LEADING ALESSANDRA BIAGGI,, IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION AUGUST 23, BUT MIKE LAWLER THE REPUBLICAN RUNNING IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY LEAD BOTH MALONEY OR BIAGGI FOR THE OFFICE)

JOHN BAILEY: THE GOVERNOR STRUCK TWICE THIS WEEK WITH TWO KEY STORIES

TAKING DEAD AIM AT MR. ZELDIN’S CRIME ISSUE AND BAIL REFORM ISSUES, GOVERNOR HOCHUL IS EASTABLISHING ANTI TERROR TASK FORCES IN EACH COUNTY. EACH COUNTY HAS TO PUT TOGETHER A TERROR INTELLIGENCE COOPERATIVE EFFORT THROUGHOUT THE STATE…ON RECOMMENDATION BY THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF HOME SECURITY….

MIMI ROCCA, THE WESTCHESTER DISTRICT ATTORNEY-A DEMOCRAT  ANNOUNCED THE BREAK UP OF A GHOST GUNS INITIATIVE –WHICH TAKES DEAD AIM AT THE SELDIN LAISSEZ FARE ENABLING GUNS POLICIES.

 STILL TO COME ARE ISSUES ON MARIJUANA LICENSES, REGULATIONS AND OF COURSE REGULATIONS ON DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA..

HOCHUL IS VULNERABLE DO YOU THINK ON THIS QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUE, AGAIN AN INDICATION OF HOW DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS DO NOT THINK A LEGISLATION THROUGH. WE’VE  BEEN WAITING A YEAR NOW FOR THE COMMISSION ON CANIBIS MANAGEMENT TO MANAGE IT.

(JOHN MARINO GRAPPLED WITH THOSE ISSUES AND ENDED SAYING ”THESE ISSUES POLITICIANS WILL TALK ABOUT BUT ONE THING NO POLITICIAN TALKS ABOUT ARE THE ELECTRIC POWER RATES SOARING, RIGHT JOHN?”

(JOHN BAILEY:) NO POLITICIAN OTHER THAN ASSEMBLYMAN  NADIR SAYEGH OF YONKERS AND PAUL FEINER OF GREENBURGH WHO BROKE THIS BIG LITTLE SECRET IN THE SPRING POINTING OUT HOW SUSTAINABLE WESTCHESTER SAID IT WAS GOING TO GO ON PAUSE BEGINNING JULY 1ST UNTIL IT COULD NEGOTIATE A BETTER LONG TERM RATE. WELL JULY 1ST CON EDISON TOOK OVER SUSTAINABLE CLIENTS IN WESTCHESTER….LOOK HOW IT IS KILLING ALL OF US SUSTAINBLE CUSTOMERS AND THOSE NOT SUSTAINABLE CUSTOMERS. LOOK AT THESE RATES AND LOOK WHAT’S AHEAD

THIS IS A DISASTER FOR EVERYONE THAT NO POLITICIAN WANTS TO STEP IN AND SAY HOLD ON POWER COMPANIES. SHOW US YOUR COSTS. SHOW US WHY SMALL POWER COMPANIES IN SMALL MARKETS HAVE TO CHARGE JUST AS MUCH A BIG MARKETS WHEN THEY HAVE SMALLER CLIENTS.

THIS WAS WHAT HAPPENED. IT WAS SUSTAINABLE’S REASON WHY THEY COULD NOT GET A COMPETITIVE RATE. HOLY CRIMINY, MORINO MAN HOW COULD WE POSSIBLY ALL HAVE THE SAME COSTS? JUST LIKE STANDARD OIL 122 YEARS AGO?

(JOHN MARINO ENDED WITH COMMENTS ON HOW THE MARIJUANA ISSUE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE MARIJUNA IS THE PATHWAY TO MORE SERIOUS DRUG ADDICTION AND ABUSE, AND TOUCHING ON THE ELECTRIC RATES WERE REALLY HURTING WESTCHESTER AND NO ONE SEEMS TO NOTICE.

THIS IS JOHN BAILEY, GOOD NIGHT FOR WHITE PLAINS WEEK

(YOU MAY VIEW THE TELECAST MONDAY EVENING AT 7 P.M. ON FIOS CH 45 OR OPTIMUM CHANNEL 76)

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SPEEDING ENFORCEMENT CRACKDOWN BEGINS SUNDAY: GOVERNOR HOCHUL ISSUES ALARMING EVIDENCE OF SPEED VIOLATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES–353 DEATHS IN 2021. VIOLATIONS UP 11%

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GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE EFFORT TO PREVENT SPEEDING

Speed Awareness Week to Run August 14 to August 21

(Editor’s Note: The Parkways and highways of Westchester County, have become audition speedways for NASCAR. The Westchester arteries are notorious for reckless operation of motor vehicles, including excessive speed often 10 to 20 miles over the speed limit, unsafe passing of slower vehicles, tail-gating, aggressive driving(headlight flashing to force moveovers of cars ahead of them), horn blasting intimidation, weaving in and out of lanes as a driving style, aggressive merges without looking, cutting off vehicles attempting to merge onto the highways on short-distance entrance ramps, motorcyclists travel on lane lines (between cars, highly nerve-racking to the cars as it is often done at high speeds by lone motorcyclists and small groups of motorcyclists).

Highways where you will find these practices in flagrant violation are the Taconic Parkway, the Sprain Brook Parkway, The I-287 Cross Westchester Expressway off rushhour, the Saw Mill Parkway, the Cross County, The Hutchinson River Parkway, and to a lesser extent Interstate 684. You need to be careful out there and make frequent checks of your rear view and side mirrors and do not tail-gate-J.B.)

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that law enforcement agencies throughout New York State will be increasing patrols to target speeding from August 14 – 21. Speed Awareness week is a high-visibility enforcement campaign supported by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to stop speeding and prevent avoidable crashes caused by unsafe speed.

“There are countless risks and tragic consequences to speeding, and I want all New Yorkers to be mindful of the speed limits in your area,” Governor Hochul said. “This enforcement campaign will be crucial not only to catch speeders but also to encourage all drivers to maintain safe speeds on our roadways, and I encourage all New Yorkers to take your time and get to your destination safely.”

According to preliminary data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, unsafe speed was a contributing factor in 353 fatal crashes in 2021, compared to 317 fatal crashes in 2020 — an 11 percent increase. The 353 fatal crashes last year resulted in 389 deaths including drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

During last year’s Speed Awareness Week, law enforcement throughout the state issued 23,087 tickets for speeding and 32,170 tickets for other vehicle and traffic law violations, such as impaired and distracted driving.

Throughout the enforcement campaign, a “Speed Catches Up With You” public service announcement will be airing on broadcast and cable networks statewide, highlighting the penalty for speeding. Additionally, the State Department of Transportation will have Variable Message Signs alerting motorists to the dangers of speeding.

Data shows fatal crashes in New York caused by unsafe speed increase during the summer months with the highest totals in June through October. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed was a contributing factor in 29 percent of all traffic fatalities nationally in 2020. Additionally, NHTSA says speeding causes:

  • Greater potential for loss of vehicle control
  • Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment
  • Increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger
  • Increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries
  • Increased fuel consumption/cost

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said, “GTSC is proud to support this enforcement campaign, once again, to not only raise awareness about the dangers of speeding but ensure the safety of all those traveling on New York’s roadways.”

New York State Sheriffs’ Association President Thomas Dougherty said, “When it comes to speedingthe risk is not worth the reward. You may get to your destination a few seconds sooner, but you are far more likely to be involved in a crash when speeding. Speed-related crashes often result in injuries and worse. The Sheriffs of New York want you to enjoy your summer travels in a safe way so obey the speed limit.”

New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Patrick Phelan said, “It is more important now than ever that police agencies focus their efforts on traffic enforcement. With traffic fatalities on the rise, proper traffic enforcement measures can and will save lives.”

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “Speeding is a dangerous behavior that needlessly results in multiple deaths and serious injuries every year. We urge all drivers to do their part to improve safety by obeying posted speed limits, being attentive, and putting away electronic devices while behind the wheel. Through education and enforcement, the New York State Police will continue to keep irresponsible drivers off the road.”

About GTSC
Combined with education and enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year, and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide.

For more information about traffic safety in New York State, please visit the GTSC website at https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/.

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THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL NEW GUIDELINES FOR COVID ISSUED AUGUST 11

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  • Removed the recommendation to cohort
  • Changed recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Level or in response to an outbreak
  • Removed the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings
  • Removed information about Test to Stay
  • Added detailed information on when to wear a mask, managing cases and exposures, and responding to outbreaks

In a Yahoo News post this morning, the new effect of the guidelines is described this way:

“This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” CDC’s chief field epidemiologist Dr. Gretta Massetti said: “screening testing of asymptomatic people without known exposures (not necessary). Case investigation and contact tracing only in health care settings and certain high-risk congregate settings.”

Yahoo analyzed the effect this way: “Such shifts are meant to reduce some of the inconvenience and disruption people and institutions have experienced in trying to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The new approach emphasizes finding and treating cases of serious illness, not stamping out every infection.”

New guidance for schools “dispenses” with last year’s test-to-stay policy,

HERE ARE THE COMPLETE NEW GUIDELINES FROM THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL ISSUED AUGUST 11:

Introduction

Schools and early care and education (ECE) programs are an important part of the infrastructure of communities as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students and children and enable parents and caregivers to be at work. Schools and ECE programs like Head Start also provide critical services that help to mitigate health disparities, such as school lunch programs, and social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. This guidance can help K-12 schools and ECE programs remain open and help their administrators support safe, in-person learning while reducing the spread of COVID-19. Based on the COVID-19 Community Levels, this guidance provides flexibility so schools and ECE programs can adapt to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from COVID-19.

K-12 schools and ECE programs (e.g., center-based child care, family child care, Head Start, or other early learning, early intervention and preschool/pre-kindergarten programs delivered in schools, homes, or other settings) should put in place a core set of infectious disease prevention strategies as part of their normal operations. The addition and layering of COVID-19-specific prevention strategies should be tied to the COVID-19 Community Levels and community or setting-specific context, such as availability of resources, health status of students, and age of population served. Enhanced prevention strategies also may be necessary in response to an outbreak in the K-12 or ECE setting. This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, tribal, local, or territorial health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools and ECE programs must comply.

Schools and ECE programs play critical roles in promoting equity in learning and health, particularly for groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. People living in rural areas, people with disabilities, immigrants, and people who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These disparities have also emerged among children. School and ECE administrators and public health officials can promote equity in learning and health by demonstrating to families, teachers, and staff that comprehensive prevention strategies are in place to keep students, staff, families, and school communities safe and provide supportive environments for in-person learning.

Though this guidance is written for COVID-19 prevention, many of the layered prevention strategies described in this guidance can help prevent the spread of other infectious diseases, such as influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and norovirus, and support healthy learning environments for all. The next section describes everyday preventive actions that schools and ECE programs can take.

For more information on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels, visit:

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Strategies for Everyday Operations

Schools and ECE programs should take a variety of actions every day to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the virus that causes COVID-19. The following set of strategies for everyday operations should be in place at all COVID-19 Community Levels, including low levels.

Staying Up to Date on Vaccinations

Schools, ECE programs, and health departments should promote equitable access to vaccination. Staying up to date on routine vaccinations is essential to prevent illness from many different infections. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect eligible people from getting severely ill with COVID-19. For COVID-19, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease. Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, and communities. Schools, ECE programs, and health departments can promote vaccination in many ways:

  • Provide information about COVID-19 vaccines and other recommended vaccines. Ensure communication meets the needs of people with limited English proficiency who require language services and individuals with disabilities who require accessible formats.
  • Encourage trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Establish supportive policies and practices that make getting vaccinated easy and convenient, for example a workplace vaccination program or providing paid time off for individuals to get vaccinated or assist family members receiving vaccinations.
  • Make vaccinations available on-site by hosting school-located vaccination clinics, or connect eligible children, students, teachers, staff, and families to off-site vaccination locations.

Staying Home When Sick

People who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, should stay home. Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms begin. People who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 who test positive should consult with a healthcare provider right away for possible treatment, even if their symptoms are mild. Staying home when sick can lower the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to other people. For more information on staying home when sick with COVID-19, including recommendations for isolation and mask use for people who test positive or who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, see Isolate If You Are Sick.

In accordance with applicable laws and regulations, schools and ECE programs should allow flexible, non-punitive, and supportive paid sick leave policies and practices. These policies should support workers caring for a sick family member and encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of retaliation, loss of pay, loss of employment, or other negative impacts. Schools should also provide excused absences for students who are sick, avoid policies that incentivize coming to school while sick, and support children who are learning at home if they are sick. Schools and ECE programs should ensure that employees and families are aware of and understand these policies and avoid language that penalizes or stigmatizes staying home when sick.

Ventilation

Schools and ECE programs can optimize ventilation and maintain improvements to indoor air quality to reduce the risk of germs and contaminants spreading through the air. Funds provided through the U.S. Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Programs and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Programs and the Department of Health and Humans Services’ Head Start and Child Care American Rescue Plan can support improvements to ventilation; repairs, upgrades, and replacements in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems; purchase of MERV-13 air filters, portable air cleaners, and upper-room germicidal ultraviolet irradiation systems; as well as implementation of other public health protocols and CDC guidance. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air in Buildings Challenge provides specific steps schools and other buildings can take to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of airborne spread of viruses and other contaminants. Ventilation recommendations for different types of buildings can be found in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) schools and universities guidance. CDC does not provide recommendations for, or against, any manufacturer or product.

When COVID-19 Community Levels increase or in response to an outbreak, schools and ECE programs can take additional steps to increase outdoor air intake and improve air filtration. For example, safely opening windows and doors, including on school buses and ECE transportation vehicles, and using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters, are strategies to improve ventilation. Schools and ECE programs may also consider holding some activities outside if feasible when the COVID-19 Community Level is high.

Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Washing hands can prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Schools and ECE programs should teach and reinforce proper handwashing to lower the risk of spreading viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Schools and ECE programs should monitor and reinforce these behaviors, especially during key times in the day (for example, before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after recess) and should also provide adequate handwashing supplies, including soap and water. If washing hands is not possible, schools and ECE programs should provide hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers should be stored up, away, and out of sight of younger children and should be used only with adult supervision for children ages 5 years and younger.

Schools and ECE programs should teach and reinforce covering coughs and sneezes to help keep individuals from getting and spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Cleaning

Schools and ECE programs should clean surfaces at least once a day to reduce the risk of germs spreading by touching surfaces. For more information, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility. Additionally, ECE programs should follow recommended procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection in their setting such as after diapering, feeding, and exposure to bodily fluids. See Caring for Our Children.

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COVID-19 Community Levels and Associated Prevention Strategies

CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels help communities and individuals make decisions about what COVID-19 prevention strategies to use based on whether their community is classified as low, medium, or high. These levels take into account COVID-19 hospitalization rates, healthcare burden, and COVID-19 cases. Recommendations outlined for the COVID-19 Community Levels are the same for schools and ECE programs as those for the community. Schools and ECE programs that serve students from multiple communities should follow prevention recommendations based on the COVID-19 Community Level of the community in which the school or ECE program is located.

School and ECE program administrators should work with local health officials to consider other local conditions and factors when deciding to implement prevention strategies. School and ECE-specific indicators—such as rates of absenteeism among students and staff or presence of students or staff who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19—can help with decision-making. Additional community-level indicators that might be considered for use in decision-making about COVID-19 prevention are pediatric hospitalizations, results from wastewater surveillance, or other local information.

When the COVID-19 Community Level indicates an increase, particularly if the level is high or the school or ECE program is experiencing an outbreak, schools or ECE programs should consider adding layered prevention strategies, described below, to maintain safe, in-person learning and keep ECE programs safely open. Although most strategies are recommended to be added or increased at a high COVID-19 Community Level, schools might want to consider adding layers when at medium, such as those in the Considerations for Prioritizing Strategies section below, based on school and community characteristics.

When the COVID-19 Community Level moves to a lower category or after resolution of an outbreak, schools and ECE programs can consider removing prevention strategies one at a time, followed by close monitoring of COVID-19 transmission within the school or ECE and the COVID-19 Community Level of their community in the weeks that follow.

Masking

Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator consistently and correctly reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. At a high COVID-19 Community Level, universal indoor masking in schools and ECE programs is recommended, as it is in the community at-large.

CDC also recommends masking at all times in healthcare settings, including school nurses’ offices, regardless of the current COVID-19 Community Level. People who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should also wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection.

Anyone who chooses to wear a mask or respirator should be supported in their decision to do so at any COVID-19 Community Level, including low.

At a medium and high COVID-19 Community Level, people who are immunocompromised or at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection Since wearing masks or respirators can prevent spread of COVID-19, people who have a household or social contact with someone at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 (for example, a student with a sibling who is at risk) may also choose to wear a mask at any COVID-19 Community Level. Schools and ECE programs should consider flexible, non-punitive policies and practices to support individuals who choose to wear masks regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level.

Schools with students at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 must make reasonable modifications when necessary to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, are able to access in-person learning.

Schools might need to require masking in settings such as classrooms or during activities to protect students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions that increase their risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 in accordance with applicable federal, state, or local laws and policies. For more information and support, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Disability Rights webpage.

Students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions or disabilities that increase risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should not be placed into separate classrooms or otherwise segregated from other students.

Because mask use is not recommended for children ages younger than 2 years and may be difficult for very young children or for some children with disabilities who cannot safely wear a mask, ECE programs and K-12 schools may need to consider other prevention strategies—such as improving ventilation and avoiding crowding—when the COVID-19 Community Level is medium or high or in response to an outbreak. K-12 schools or ECE programs may choose to implement universal indoor mask use to meet the needs of the families they serve, which could include people at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19.

For more information about masks please visit Types of Masks and Respirators.

Testing

Diagnostic Testing

Schools and ECE programs can offer diagnostic testing for students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the K-12 or ECE setting, or refer them to a community testing site, healthcare provider, or to use an at-home test. Each COVID-19 test with an emergency use authorization (EUA) has a minimum age requirement. Schools and ECE programs should only use tests that are appropriate for the person being tested.

Screening Testing

Screening testing identifies people with COVID-19 who do not have symptoms or known or suspected exposures, so that steps can be taken to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

CDC no longer recommends routine screening testing in K-12 schools. However, at a high COVID-19 Community Level, K-12 schools and ECE programs can consider implementing screening testing for students and staff for high-risk activities (for example, close contact sports, band, choir, theater); at key times in the year, for example before/after large events (such as prom, tournaments, group travel); and when returning from breaks (such as, holidays, spring break, at the beginning of the school year). In any screening testing program, testing should include both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Schools serving students who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, such as those with moderate or severe immunocompromise or complex medical conditions, can consider implementing screening testing at a medium or high COVID-19 Community Level. The type of viral test used can vary and includes over the counter or at-home testing (self-testing), point-of-care rapid testing, or laboratory testing. Schools and ECE programs that choose to rely on at-home test kits for screening testing should ensure equal access and availability to the tests; establish accessible systems that are in place for ensuring timely reporting of positive results to the school or ECE program; and communicate with families the importance of following isolation guidance for anyone who tests positive. Communication strategies should take into account the needs of people with limited English proficiency who require language services, and individuals with disabilities who require accessible formats.

Screening testing should be done in a way that ensures the ability to maintain confidentiality of results and protect privacy. Consistent with state legal requirements and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), K-12 schools and ECE programs should obtain parental consent for minor students and assent/consent from students themselves, when applicable.

Management of Cases and Exposures

Students or staff who come to school or an ECE program with symptoms or develop symptoms while at school or an ECE program should be asked to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator while in the building and be sent home and encouraged to get tested if testing is unavailable at school. Symptomatic people who cannot wear a mask should be separated from others as much as possible; children should be supervised by a designated caregiver who is wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator until they leave school grounds.

Schools and ECEs should develop mechanisms to ensure that people with COVID-19 isolate away from others and do not attend school until they have completed isolation. Once isolation has ended, people should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others through day 10. Testing is not required to determine the end of isolation or mask use following COVID-19 infection; however people can use the test-based strategy outlined in the isolation guidance to potentially shorten the duration of post-isolation mask use. If using the test-based strategy, people should continue to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in the school or ECE setting until testing criteria have been met. People who are not able to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator should either isolate for 10 full days or follow the test-based strategy to determine when they can safely return to the school or ECE setting without a mask, continuing to isolate until testing criteria have been met. If a person with COVID-19 has been inside a school or ECE facility within last 24 hours, the space should be cleaned and disinfected. For more information, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.

Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. In schools and ECE settings, which are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings, people who were exposed to COVID-19 should follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested. K-12 school and ECE administrators can decide how to manage exposures based on the local context and benefits of preserving access to in-person learning. Accommodations may be necessary for exposed people who cannot wear a mask or have difficulty wearing a well-fitting mask. Schools and ECE programs can also consider recommending masking and/or testing for a classroom in which a student was recently exposed who is unable to consistently and correctly wear a mask.

Quarantine is a key component to Test to Stay programs. Since quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings, Test to Stay (TTS) is no longer needed. If any school or ECE program chooses to continue requiring quarantine, they may also choose to continue TTS.

Responding to Outbreaks

If a school or ECE program is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak they should consider adding prevention strategies regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level. Strategies that can help reduce transmission during an outbreak include wearing well-fitting masks or respirators, improving ventilation (for example moving school activities outdoors, opening windows and doors, using air filters), screening testing, and case investigation and contact tracing. Early identification of cases to ensure that they stay home and isolate is a critical component of outbreak response. Schools and ECE programs may also consider suspending high-risk activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak. Schools and ECE programs that are experiencing outbreaks should work with their state or local health department in accordance with state and local regulations. Health departments should provide timely outbreak response support to K-12 schools and ECEs.

Considerations for High-Risk Activities

Due to increased and forceful exhalation that occurs during physical activity, some sports can put players, coaches, trainers, and others at increased risk for getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Close contact sports and indoor sports are particularly risky for participants and spectators, especially in crowded, indoor venues. Similar risks may exist for other extracurricular activities, such as band, choir, theater, and other school clubs that meet indoors and entail increased exhalation. At a high COVID-19 Community Level, schools and ECE programs can consider implementing screening testing for high-risk activities such as indoor sports and extracurricular activities. Schools and ECE programs may consider temporarily stopping these activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak, or during periods of high COVD-19 Community Levels. ECE programs may also consider layering prevention strategies, such as masking, when close contact occurs, such as during feeding and diapering young children and infants.

Considerations for K-12 Residential Dorms and Overnight Child Care

While shared housing, such as K-12 residential dorms, camps, or overnight child care, is considered a congregate setting, it is considered a low-risk congregate setting due to the lower risk of severe health outcomes (such as hospitalizations and death) for children and young adults. Therefore, CDC recommends shared housing facilities follow the general population guidance for isolation, management of exposures, and recommendations under COVID-19 Community Levels.

In specific circumstances where the student population may be at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, schools may opt to follow isolation and quarantine guidance for high-risk congregate settings, which includes recommendations of a 10-day period for isolation. Schools and ECE programs should balance the potential benefits of following that guidance with the impact these actions would have on student well-being, such as the ability to participate in in-person instruction, food service access, and social interactions. Screening testing at all COVID-19 Community Levels can also be appropriate in these settings to reduce transmission and improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.

Top of Page

Considerations for Prioritizing Strategies

Schools and ECE programs, with help from local health departments, should consider local context when selecting strategies to prioritize for implementation. Schools and ECE programs should balance the risk of COVID-19 with educational, social, and mental health outcomes when deciding which prevention strategies to put in place. Additional factors to consider include:

  • Age of population served: Layered prevention strategies that are most suitable for young children should be given special consideration. Young children may have difficulty wearing a well-fitting mask consistently and correctly, and children ages under 2 years should not wear masks. For these reasons, layering additional prevention strategies—such as encouraging vaccination among staff and others around unvaccinated children, improved ventilation, and avoiding crowded spaces—should be used.
  • Students with disabilities: Federal and state disability laws require an individualized approach for working with children and youth with disabilities consistent with the child’s individual educational plan (IEP), Section 504 plan, or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Reasonable modifications, when necessary, must be provided to ensure equal access to in-person learning for students with disabilities. Administrators should consider additional prevention strategies to accommodate the health and safety of students with disabilities and protect their civil rights and equal access to safe in-person learning. The U.S. Department of Education provides guidance and resources for schools and ECE programs to ensure students with disabilities continue to receive the services and supports they are entitled to so that they have successful in-person educational experiences.
  • People at risk of getting very sick: Schools and ECE programs should also consider the needs of people who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 or who have family members at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19. Some students and staff may need additional protections to ensure they can remain safely in the classroom. In addition, people who spend time indoors with individuals at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should consider taking extra precautions (for example, wearing a mask) even when the COVID-19 Community Level is not high. School districts, schools, ECE programs, and classrooms may choose to implement masking requirements at any COVID-19 Community Level depending on their community’s needs – and especially keeping in mind those for whom these prevention strategies provide critical protection for in-person learning.
  • Equity: Equity at both the individual and school levels should be considered in all decision-making. Care should be taken so that decisions related to layered prevention strategies and learning options do not disproportionately affect any group of people. For instance, at the health department and school or ECE level, decisions to put in place strategies such as screening testing and contact tracing should be made in a way as to ensure that the same resources are provided to all within the district and community.
  • Availability of resources: Availability of resources, such as funding, personnel, or testing materials, vary by community. Schools or ECE programs may consider prioritizing strategies for responding to an outbreak, or ramp strategies up as necessary. Alternatively, they may choose to focus resources on select, at-risk sites within the school or ECE program (such as recommending masking and testing for a classroom in which a student was recently diagnosed with COVID-19). Schools and ECE programs should work with local, state, and federal agencies to identify additional resources to implement strategies, including those provided to schools and ECE programs through the American Rescue Plan.
  • Communities served: The feasibility and acceptability of certain prevention strategies may vary within the community. Schools and ECE programs should consider community context and acceptability when choosing prevention strategies.
  • Pediatric-specific considerations: Schools and ECE programs should work closely with local health departments to stay updated on the latest science about COVID-19, its impact on the local healthcare and hospital system, and any changes to recommended prevention strategies. While children are at lower risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, some children may still be hospitalized as a result of the infection. When schools and ECE programs are considering increasing the use and number of prevention strategies when the COVID-19 Community Level is high, schools and ECE programs should take into account the extent to which students are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 or have family members at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19.
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HOCHUL: INFLATION REDUCTION ACT PASSED BY THE HOUSE

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“Today’s vote in the House of Representatives is a monumental step forward in our nation’s efforts to fight inflation, lower costs for families and tackle the climate crisis. Thanks to leadership from Speaker Pelosi and hard work from Democrats in the New York Congressional delegation, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will soon head to President Biden’s desk.

“This federal legislation is poised to make a major impact in New York. Seniors who rely on Medicare for prescription drugs will finally see their costs go down. Individuals who rely on Affordable Care Act health care plans will have their subsidies extended, keeping premiums more affordable. And a historic investment in green technology and climate resiliency will make a positive impact across our economy by creating jobs, lowering household utility costs and kick-starting the clean energy revolution.

“The Inflation Reduction Act is the perfect companion to our ongoing efforts in New York help families with the rising cost of living, from our nation-leading investments in clean energy to the tax relief we’ve delivered for middle-class homeowners. I look forward to President Biden signing this bill into law — and to implementing these historic changes right here in New York.”

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“Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)” by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH PhD— epidemiologist, biostatistician SUPPLEMENTAL EDITION ON LATEST ON MPX VACCINES STATUS

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Si quiere leer la versión en español, pulse aquí.


How effective are MPX vaccines?

By Dr. Katelyn Jetelina

Vaccines will help control the monkeypox (MPX) outbreak.

The bad news is that we desperately need more doses. And we don’t know how much the vaccines help and in what manner they help (prevention, duration of disease, severity of disease).

This information is absolutely essential so people know how well they are protected and what behaviors they should (or should not) change. This information will also have major implications for controlling the outbreak worldwide.

How effective was the second generation vaccine against MPX?

The CDC website states the smallpox vaccine is 85% effective in preventing MPX among humans based on data from Africa. From what I can tell, this is based on a 1988 study in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Scientists looked at a pretty big sample (3,686 people) who were exposed to close contacts of MPX. Among people who were exposed and then infected, 15 were vaccinated and 54 were unvaccinated. This equates to an efficacy of 87%, which is great news! At least for the historical outbreaks.

The problem is that the virus has mutated, it’s spreading very differently than before, and it’s been a long time since people got this smallpox vaccine. So we cannot assume a smallpox vaccination from decades ago will act the same way during this outbreak.

How effective is a smallpox vaccine from decades ago?

A very recent study published in the Lancet collected data on 181 patients with an MPX infection in Spain during the current outbreak, including data on whether people had a previous smallpox vaccination. Among the 181 MPX cases, 32 (18%) had a history of the smallpox vaccination.

We cannot calculate efficacy because we don’t know how many people were exposed and not infected, but overall this was not great news. We need to better understand the protection provided in the context of the current outbreak, like investigating the duration of protection and why vaccine effectiveness may have changed.

How effective is Jyennos?

We have more than 22 clinical trials of Jyennos… against smallpox. This means we know it’s safe, but we don’t know how effective it is against MPX. A few years ago, the FDA approved the vaccine for monkeypox by relying on survival data from primate studies. (Far more primates survived after vaccination compared to those without vaccination.)

But this is really all we have to go on for the current vaccine rollout.

Scientists are smartly collecting data during the rollout, though.

For example, a French preprint study followed 276 people who received a shot after a high-risk contact. Ten people developed MPX quickly thereafter (which is not surprising as vaccines need time to be effective). But two people were infected at 22 and 25 days after vaccination, which was unexpected.

This means that the vaccine is not perfect at preventing infection after close contact. We certainly need more data.

We hypothesize that even among those who get vaccinated and infected, the vaccines still help reduce viral load and, thus, severity of infection.

We have yet to see the clinical data on that yet, though.

How effective are other innovative strategies?

Because of suboptimal vaccine supply in the U.S., we are forced to think innovatively about how to broaden the vaccine reach during this public health emergency. As a result, we are trying two methods, but they leave us with even more questions:

  1. Intradermal vaccination. 
  2. Earlier this week, the FDA authorized intradermal vaccination, which means administering the vaccine at the top layer of our skin. The skin is home to a number of immune cells that trigger a potentially better immune response and requires less vaccine liquid (we could get five vaccines with this new strategy compared to one with the intramuscular route). This strategy has been used in other emergencies, like Ebola. But we only have one study showing this works for the smallpox vaccine. In 2015, scientists randomized 524 people to test vaccination using this method and showed it was effective. When we use this method with other vaccines (flu and rabies), there is also significant skin irritation. We don’t know if that will be the case with this vaccine. Implementation is also going to be difficult, as it requires special training and confidence. How much will this impact effectiveness or uptake? We don’t know.
  3. Dosage sparing. Some jurisdictions, like New York, are also spacing the dosing. So, people get the first dose (the regular intramuscular route) and then have to wait until we get more vaccines in the fall for the second dose. This increases reach, but the protection after one dose is unknown.

Given the (limited) evidence, vaccine shortage, and urgency of this emergency, I support these approaches, as long as people understand that this is experimental and we collect data along the way to make better, data-driven decisions in the future.

Bottom line

We really need real-world effectiveness studies on MPX vaccines. This will be coming. In the meantime, we have to make difficult policy decisions based on limited data. (Sound familiar?) But we cannot repeat our COVID-19 mistakes and provide a false sense of security with vaccines. Communication around scientific uncertainty and how it’s being used to make decisions needs to be at the forefront so we can build trust and effectively dampen the outbreak across the globe.

Love, YLE


“Your Local Epidemiologist (YLE)” is written by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, MPH PhD—an epidemiologist, biostatistician, wife, and mom of two little girls. During the day she works at a nonpartisan health policy think tank, and at night she writes this newsletter. Her main goal is to “translate” the ever-evolving public health science so that people will be well equipped to make evidence-based decisions. This newsletter is free thanks to the generous support of fellow YLE community members. To support the effort, please subscribe here:

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WESTCHESTER TO THE RESCUE: $10 MILLION. 400 UNITS MAY BE REHABILITATED BY LANDLORDS BY TENANTS IF RENTS STAY THE SAME

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Landlord-Tenant Housing Assistance Program Press Conference Image

Funds May Be Used For Needed Repairs To Rental Properties In Exchange For Landlords Maintaining Affordable Rents

WPCNR County Clarion-Ledger. From Westchester County Department of Communications. August 11, 2022:

County Executive George Latimer and the Westchester County Board of Legislators announced the Landlord Tenant Assistance Program (LTAP) on Tuesday, furthering their commitment to preserving affordable housing in communities across Westchester.

LTAP will allow small landlords who own eight units or less and who maintain rent levels that are affordable to residents, to apply for up to $25,000 per unit for repairs to their rental properties.

To be eligible, landlords/owners must charge rents that are affordable to households earning between 60% and 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and home improvements may include, but are not limited to, roof replacement, or upgrades to electrical, windows, accessibility ramps, plumbing and heating systems. With $10M available in funds, 400 units can be rehabilitated.

Rent levels, with utilities included, must adhere to the following 2022 HUD Guidelines:

Bedroom Size60% AMI Rent Levels80% AMI Rent Levels100% AMI Rent Levels
Studio$1,457$1,942$2,427
1 Bedroom$1,665$2,219$2,773
2 Bedroom$1,873$2,497$3,119
3 Bedroom$2,080$2,773$3,465

Westchester County Executive Latimer said: “The COVID-19 pandemic, and its aftermath, have greatly impacted our small landlords who have not been able to receive rent increases to make improvements to their properties in years. My administration stands committed to preserving affordable housing in all of our communities, and this funding will help our landlords make upgrades that will ultimately preserve the life of these units. We hope the prospect of receiving up to $25,000 per unit will incentivize our landlords to maintain their rental properties at a price point that everyone can afford.”

Commissioner of the Department of Planning Norma Drummond said: “The Planning Department is excited to launch this program that particularly assists small landlords who need to make much needed repairs to their rental units.  By offering this program, we know that we will help small landlords and renters alike, who were hit hard by the pandemic.  LTAP funds will preserve and enhance smaller multi-family housing stock in the County that will improve the living conditions of many county residents and maintain its affordability.”

Chairwoman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Catherine Borgia said: “I am grateful for our partnership with County Executive Latimer in negotiating this funding into the 2022 budget. This will have a positive effect for both landlords and tenants.”

Board of Legislators Majority Leader Chris Johnson said: “In Westchester, we are not only committed to keeping people in their homes, we are committed to making sure those homes are safe and healthy places to reside. As renters and landlords are working to get back on their feet from the pandemic, I am happy to partner with the County Executive to provide the funding for programs that not only keep a roof over people’s heads, but to make sure those roofs aren’t leaking as well.”

Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels said: “Landlords are struggling to get back on their feet as rents were frozen during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is my hope that they will take advantage of this program which will help them pay for needed building repairs for their tenants. We have to work together on the entire picture to make sure we have safe apartments for our residents to live in.”

PROCESS

A Westchester County Rehabilitation Specialist will inspect the property after an application has been submitted to the Department of Planning. If the property qualifies, a three-party contract will be signed between the County, the landlord/owner and the contractor, for work to be completed by contractors that are licensed and insured to work in Westchester County. Funds will be disbursed directly to the contractor from the County after a progress inspection has been completed.  

CALL NOW LANDLORDS 914-995-2429

Interested landlords/owners should call or email Gaitre Rambharose in the Westchester County Department of Planning at 914-995-2429 or gqrh@westchestergov.com

Watch the full news conference here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI-wwhWxKgk

View the Landlord-Tenant Housing Assistance Program Brochure (in English and Spanish) here: https://adobe.ly/3pa5wlz

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AN EPIDEMIOLOGIST’S PLAN FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR

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By Dr. Katelyn Jetelina.

Your Local Epidemiologist. August 10, 2022. Reprinted with permission.

School is starting. And, with it, the contentious debate on what schools should and should not do. While the pandemic ravages on, the landscape continues to morph, and because of that, every subsequent school year has looked very different (hopefully for the better).

Unfortunately, student absences continue. As seen in London, (BELOW) students’ absences continue to be higher than before the pandemic. They were especially high at the end of this school year when BA.5 took hold. (Editor’s note: this was true of the White Plains City School District, too).

We know this is partially driven by reinfections, as children have the highest reinfection rate compared to any other age group.

(Source Kit Yates)

It’s imperative that schools remain open, but they continue to seem stuck between “do everything” and “do nothing.” 

How many layers can a school feasibly implement given pandemic fatigue, limited resources, strong opinions, and differing risk calibrations?

The answer is multi-level; it requires a balance of tradeoffs from students, parents, teachers, schools, and the community. Our primary goal should be to maximize the number of days children are present. This can be accomplished many ways, but I think there are three buckets schools should really focus on.

Back-to-school vaccination campaign

We need strong, universal vaccine campaigns at schools.

Parents report that schools, pediatricians, and health departments are the most trusted sources of information about vaccines. Schools can also significantly improve access to vaccines, as 38% of parents say they do not have enough info on where their kid can get vaccinated. A fall back-to-school campaign could really help move the needle for vaccinations, and thus school absences. And not just for COVID, but other vaccine preventable diseases.

  • COVID-19: The number of children vaccinated against COVID-19 remains abysmally low. (Only 10% of 5-11 year olds and 27% of 12-17 years olds are up to date.) Vaccines are safe, they prevent infections (especially within a few months of vaccination), prevent severe disease, and reduce risk of long COVID. But parents have a lot of great questions; we need to anticipate concerns.
  • Flu. The flu season in Australia just wrapped up, and it wasn’t pretty.This is notable because, historically, Southern Hemisphere patterns predict what is to come in the Northern hemisphere. (We’ve been worried about a “twin-demic” since COVID-19 began, but it hasn’t happened yet. We are not sure why.) We should heed Australia’s warning and prepare for the worst.
  • Other routine vaccines. New York is strongly warning parents about a dip in routine vaccinations. For example, 13.8% of children have not been vaccinated against polio. This reflects patterns we’ve seen nationally and internationally with other routine vaccinations, too. We cannot lose decades-long progress towards eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases.

We can reimagine how vaccines and information reach students and parents.

For example, the Teens for Vaccines campaign in Detroit was highly successful by empowering student ambassadors.

A school district in Florida recognized that active communication and education promoted vaccine confidence and uptake, so they sent text reminders, posted on social media, and provided credible information. Los Angeles School District even had a TikTok campaign.

Ventilation and filtration

Schools need to upgrade their ventilation and filtration systems.

This is one of the most powerful tools we have to curb COVID-19 and other viruses because it happens in the background—it’s an institutional-level intervention that doesn’t require the teachers, parents, or students to do anything. Unfortunately, a small proportion of schools report using these strategies, especially in rural and mid-poverty schools. Many administrators aren’t aware that federal funding is available for ventilation improvements.

Layman wording on how to improve ventilation and filtration is difficult to find. I worked with Dr. Whitney Robinson and Katie Harper, fellow epidemiologists, on a one pager that outlines available strategies and how to test effectiveness. This may help.

Testing and isolating

Now that everyone is eligible for vaccines, and treatments (monoclonal antibodies, antivirals and Evusheild) are available for high risk family members, a more targeted approach to testing, isolating, and masking in the upcoming school year is reasonable:

  • Testing. Sick, symptomatic kids should stay home. At-home or at-school antigen tests would be a great tool to use for this. (Do not use PCR tests, as these could stay positive for weeks).
  • Quarantining. Attending school far outweighs benefits of quarantining for a respiratory virus that is out of control in the community. It’s reasonable (and overdue) to remove quarantine requirements.
  • Isolation. The ideal scenario is that a child tests-to-exit isolation using antigen tests. But this can mean a lot of school missed (and a lot of work missed for parents), with the average infection lasting 8-10 days.
  • The CDC says people can leave isolation after 5 days if they remain positive as long as they mask. If children need to go back to school at that time, it’s certainly reasonable and should be expected that kids mask if they are still positive.
  • Masks.
  • Masks are effective to the wearer. They are even more effective if everyone is masking.
  • If a school is in an area of high transmission, it’s certainly reasonable to mask to reduce transmission and, thus, reduce missing school.
  • However, for that strategy to work, the wearer must mask everywhere else in the community. I don’t think it makes sense for a school to mandate masks if the larger community does not do so either. We shouldn’t ask students to hold down the fort if the larger community hasn’t also committed either.

Other random thoughts

Preparedness needs to be the name of the game. Schools need a plan in case we do get another Omicron-like event or if there’s is a big superspreader event, like a homecoming dance.

There need to be very important conversations about normalizing decisions around masking, even if not required. Very important conversations may also need to ensue if a child is high risk in a classroom, so they, too, can attend in person learning.

Bottom line

This pandemic landscape continues to change and, with it, we should adapt. But if we continue to fail to act, children will continue to have their education disrupted by COVID19. There are a number of measures schools can put in place to maximize the number of days children are in school so they can have a safe and successful school year.

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