We continue to analyze the approximately 3500 responses to the survey, and continue to closely follow the reopening guidelines being set out by the state.
Responses to the survey continue to come in, and any numbers below will be updated as we obtain new information and as we continue to analyze. Based on the responses so far, it would seem that a little over 70% of those in the age group 25-65 has been sick with a COVID-like illness, while only approximately 55% of those above age 65 have reported a COVID-like illness.
Assuming the responses are reflective of Crown Heights as a whole, this decreased prevalence of illness among those above age 65 is likely due to their successful isolation. This is good news, as it means we’ve prevented many potentially serious illnesses, and it also means we have a sizable percentage among the elderly who remain at risk for illness.
On the other hand, among those who did have the illness (based on symptoms), it would appear that overall greater than 70% of them developed antibodies. (However, many who were tested had never been sick, and therefore only 60-65% of those who were tested were positive for antibodies.)
This suggests that the majority of our community below age 65 has had a meaningful interaction with the virus, with the majority likely possessing antibodies. We would hope and suspect that most in this age group have some form of protection against the virus, at least in the short term.
However, the group above age 65 is concerning – both because many of them remain at risk for developing the illness, and because the illness tends to be more severe in this age group. Protecting this at-risk group is of vital importance. Unfortunately, though, a vaccine does not appear to be available in the near future, and continued isolation of this group for months and months is hardly feasible. Therefore, the most feasible method of protecting this age group is likely in developing a sufficient “herd immunity” around them. At what point this is reached is unclear, although as stated above, a large portion of those below age 65 have already been sick.
What this means, practically, is that any attempt to slowly open up our community must initially occur only among those in a lower risk group. This would allow us to monitor for new cases in a population less at risk for serious illness, as well as hopefully continue to examine the strength of “herd immunity” that exists. Any significant contact with individuals from outside the community, residing in places where no such immunity exists and cases are continuing to appear, will present a risk that may well be unacceptable to susceptible individuals within our community.
In terms of opening up, we here in Crown Heights exist within the broader community of New York City and are governed by the laws of New York State. New York State’s road map for beginning to open depends on several factors; most notably:
- Declining rates of new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
- Ability to quickly diagnose and effectively contain any new cases to prevent a resurgence of cases.
- At the community level this implies introduction of “quarantine”; not only of the identified case, but all susceptible contacts need to be traced and quarantined.
In our little island of Crown Heights, we have had relatively few new cases over the past few weeks.
We are constantly monitoring for the presence of a resurgence of cases. Our local doctor’s offices are on alert for patients reporting new COVID-like symptoms, to test, diagnose, and contain any new cases.
We hope that in light of all the above – the declining/low rate of new cases, the high prevalence of those already ill, and constant vigilance to contain new cases – we can begin opening safely, soon, in gradual and cautious steps to protect those that are older and most at risk.
In the meantime, we’d like to reiterate:
- Those that have not filled it out yet, please do so now here: COVID/Antibody Survey. We’re asking ALL members of the community to fill it out, regardless of whether you’ve been sick or not, tested or not. If you’ve filled it out already but something now changed (your results returned, you got tested, etc.), please fill it out again.
- Anyone with new fever or COVID-like symptoms MUST contact their doctor’s office and get tested for the virus if possible. Their close contacts, if they have not been sick yet, must be tested and quarantined for 14 days.
We hope that the reassuring trends continue, and we only see health and healing in our community.
Hatzalah, along with selfless community members, have established a “home based” comprehensive rehab that will provide for rehabilitation in all domains, with attention given to family and social needs, as well as the myriad of other possible impairments. All therapies will be provided in the refurbished “day-hab” center in the ULY halls on Albany Ave. Patients will be transported to and from the center, for intensive therapy.
If you are aware of someone who may benefit from these services, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social support services:
The COVID Hotline remains available for all COVID related questions. Please email your question to email@example.com with a “Hotline” in the subject line. Alternatively, you can call the hotline number, 212-901-2000, and leave a voicemail and someone will call you back.
The Errand Support program remains available for urgent needs such as medication and the like. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Errand” in the subject line. Alternatively, you can call the hotline number, 212-901-2000, and leave a voicemail with your request.
The Mental Health program, in partnership with Neshamos.org, continues to provide support and counseling. Please call the hotline, 212-901-2000, and follow the prompts to speak with a licensed professional.
Please – take a moment to fill out the COVID/Antibody Survey if you have not done so, and pass it along among your friends and family here in Crown Heights as well.
We would like to take this opportunity to urge everyone to help in the Hatzalah-Thon campaign which is now underway. What Hatzalah has done for us as a community is beyond words, and we are infinitely grateful to them. Let’s be there for them now. Click here to donate.
The Gedaliah Society, in conjunction with Dr. Rosen