In a Newsmax article on April 16, I painstakingly documented that the coronavirus death tolls, disseminated daily by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's Department of Health (DOH), were so egregiously flawed that they were "epidemiologically worthless." I also sharply criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Department of Health for an inexcusably sloppy and opaque method of collecting and propagating the death totals not only for the city's five counties (boroughs), but also the state's 57 other counties.
With the nation's most populous city having suffered 6,840 "confirmed" deaths by April 14, or 24% of the nation's 28,539 COVID-19 fatalities, "De Blasio Is Fudging NY's Virus Numbers" concluded by urging President Donald Trump "to end the national shutdown, and to return Americans to their normal, intensely productive lives."
My contrarian conclusion that the epidemic had peaked at the epicenter in NYC, and the recommendation to re-open America were based on the noteworthy slowdown of the rate at which deaths had doubled during the first half of April.
While it took five days, from 1,374 deaths on April 1 to 2,738 deaths on April 6, for NYC's rate to jump 100%, the next doubling, from 3,544 deaths on April 7 to 7,563 on April 15, occurred over eight days.
One month later, the fabulous news for New Yorkers and all other Americans is that the next doubling took in 29 days, from 7,890 deaths on April 16 to 15,756 on May 15. (All fatality statistics for NYC are from the tables on the DOH website, which are posted every afternoon and record total deaths as of 6 p.m. the previous day).
Additionally, this table shows how many days it took for the comparable 100% increases in fatalities in New York State since early April:
DATE NY STATE TOTAL DEATHS
4/6 4,758, doubling between 3 and 4 days
4/13 10,056, doubling between 6 and 7 days
5/6 20,597, doubling in 23 days
(Source: Wikipedia's "COVID-19 Pandemic in NYS")
Between May 6 and 15, New York state's death toll increased from 20,597 to 22,478, only a 9.3% increase in nine days.
Of the 22,478 New Yorkers who died during this epidemic (through May 15), 15,756, or 70.1%, lived in the five boroughs of New York City. As of 6 p.m. on May 15, the NYC DOH reported these deaths by borough:
- Brooklyn, 4,813
- Queens, 4,707
- Bronx, 3,344
- Manhattan, 2,126
- Staten Island, 756
- (The residences of 10 decedents were "unknown.")
By gender, 9,547 were males (60.6%) and 6,169 females (39.2%). (The sex of 40 decedents is "unknown.")
Another 5,858 New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 lived in the five counties directly east or north of New York City:
- Nassau: 2,034
- Suffolk: 1,733
- Westchester: 1,275
- Rockland: 474
- Orange: 342
(Source: NYS DOH COVID-19 website as of midnight on May 15)
Thus, 21,614 of the 22,478 deaths in New York state, or 96.2%, occurred in New York City and its adjacent suburbs. Gov. Cuomo just re-opened five regions outside metro New York City: North Country, including the Adirondack Mountains; Mohawk Valley, west of Albany; Central New York, including Syracuse; Finger Lakes, including Rochester; and Southern Tier, which borders northeastern Pennsylvania. In retrospect, he should have never shut down these areas in March.
On May 14, the governor also unnecessarily extended until May 28 his stay-at-home order for the state's five other regions: three in metro New York City; the capital region around Albany; and the western region around Buffalo.
Additionally, seven unrealistic metrics, crafted by an increasingly autocratic and flailing Gov. Cuomo, must be met before all restrictions on normal daily activity are lifted on these still shuttered regions. One metric is that COVID-19 daily hospitalizations must not exceed two per 100,000 residents.
Thus New York City, with 8,339,000 residents, is required to have no more than 167 new coronavirus hospitalizations daily. By contrast, on each of seven days between late March and early April 2020, hospitalizations in NYC for COVID-19 exceeded 1,500.
Mayor de Blasio is even more resistant to re-opening NYC than Gov. Cuomo, according to The New York Times on May 15: "Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that NYC was not likely to ease restrictions on business and gatherings until the first half of June, at the earliest."
My latest unsolicited advice to President Trump is that it's time, to quote Winston Churchill, "to jaw-jaw" the governor and mayor into re-opening. New York State's population of 19.4 million is only 5.9% of America's 330 million. Yet, as of the evening of May 16, New York state's 22,478 deaths from COVID-19 represent 27.6% of America's 81,456. Thus, hundreds of billions of dollars of federal aid have wisely been given to New York and its residents.
Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio should emulate Democratic Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, who recently announced the first phase of re-opening for May 20, and whose incompetent Commissioner of Health, Renee Coleman-Mitchell, was dismissed on May 12.
Cuomo needs to immediately re-open New York state and to fire his hapless Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker.
Similarly, Mayor de Blasio must immediately re-open the Big Apple and to fire his unqualified and deeply-polarizing Health Commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
Finally, with the growing scandal of the deaths, from COVID-19, of more than 5,500 elderly New Yorkers, who were residents of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio certainly don't want President Trump to proceed to the next stage of Churchill's famous advice, if "jaw-jaw" doesn't work: "war-war."
Mark Schulte is a retired New City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Report's — More Here.
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