“Everything is very, very slow again this year, with this virus going up the city is not the same”He comments Ecuadorian Guillermo Caisaguano, who has worked in the restaurant industry in the Big Apple, for 10 years.
But what seems like a personal impression, of someone who is leafing through a newspaper in a Manhattan square, is actually the very precise description of how the omicron variant of COVID-19 becomes a “stumbling block” that puts a very low revolution the operation of the machinery of vital services for the Big Apple.
That restaurants and some businesses face problems to operate, due to work absences, could be secondary, but what does turn on alarm lights are some trends released this Tuesday that show that the New York City Security and Emergency Forces, they begin to show a sustained loss of personnel.
Some figures shared by various local media show that 14% of the officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), “or almost 5,000 of the 35,000 officers he did not work due to illness on Monday ”.
The unofficial estimate is that almost 2,000 police officers had tested positive for COVID-19, while the other 3,000 experienced flu-like symptoms.
The newspaper ‘The New York Post‘says that at the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), 30% of its 4,200 emergency technician (EMS) employees and 18% of its 11,000 firefighters were sick.
Alert: FDNY Does Not Offer COVID-19 Testing
In a communicated the FDNY made a clarification to New Yorkers on how to use their services in these times of pandemic.
“The ambulances do not provide COVID-19 testing and patients are not transported to a hospital for evaluation upon request. Transportation decisions are made based on medical needs. Only call 911 during a real emergency. For non-emergencies, call 311 ″, they indicated.
In this sense, the Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levine, described in his Twitter account “the tension” that some services are experiencing in the Big Apple, given the high wave of infections associated with the coronavirus.
“There is at this moment a subject for reflection. Too many people who call 911 or go to the emergency room with only mild symptoms, or they just want a test. FDNY is pleading again: Do not seek emergency care unless you are faced with a true emergency, “he said.
The Big Apple reported almost 30,000 new cases of viruses this Monday alone, and the number of people hospitalized exceeded 5,000, according to state data.
These contagion numbers surpasses last winter’s peakBut it is still below the hospitalization rate during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, when 12,000 people were hospitalized on the worst days.
Spokesmen for the New York City Public Hospital Corporation (NYC Health + Hospitals) assure that the hospital and emergency room situation continues to be monitored “hour by hour”, however they concluded that despite the upturn in patients the “System is stable.”
If you take the train, leave earlier
Another vital service such as the Subway is also beginning to find obstacles to operate “full train.”
Users since last week began to notice in general a slowness in some lines, although this Monday the temporary closure was already confirmed for a few hours of the lines B, W and Z.
In this sense, Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), acknowledged in a statement that like all companies and agencies of the City, they are going through an increase in positive COVID-19 test results in your workforce.
“I was almost 45 minutes on the platform waiting for the train to come to Manhattan for my work. I recommend that people leave earlier. They can have surprises “, commented the Colombian Elsa Guerrero, who lives in Astoria, in Queens, and usually wait 10 to 15 minutes maximum to take the W train at 30 Avenue station.
Although MTA spokesmen do not specify the number of these workers who have called in sick, the acting president of ‘NYC transit’ Craig Cipriano it did acknowledge flaws, but argued that “personnel levels are much better than during the peak of the pandemic in spring 2020 ”.
The fury of the omicron variant is also affecting the number of passengers using the mass transit system.
Based on MTA figures there was a “Drop in users” by 50% in the last count on December 29, after an increase of almost 75% in November.
33% of students are absent from schools
Throughout the New York City public school system, around the 33% of students were absent on Monday, as shown by some data from the City, shared by the portal chalkbeat.com.
A flurry of positive coronavirus cases among education workers forced an unknown number of campuses to reassign assistant or substitute teachers to serve students. In addition, not all services such as cafeterias, laboratories and special areas are still available, so absence of employees.
“As the days go by, our system will be able to normalize, but we are certain that We are on the good way”, recognized The newspaper a source from the New York City Department of Education (DOE).
The experience shared by the Dominican Maria Teresa Feliz, A resident of Washington Heights, it was confirmed that it was a constant in several schools: “my son went to class but had a morning of educational games, with some assistants, as the teacher called in sick.”
In the mother’s opinion, “at least” she could go to work because otherwise she would have had to call “sick” as well.
“The single mothers we appreciate that schools, Despite this chaos caused by the virus, welcome children who want to go. We are millions here and each one has a different reality, “said the immigrant with two children in schools in Upper Manhattan.
Indeed, Mayor Eric Adams remained steadfast Tuesday in his position to keep school buildings open, despite comments from unions and elected leaders recommending call remote classes in the face of complicated scenario of contagions after the holidays.
“I will not allow hysteria to prevent our children receive a quality education “, the new municipal president reacted to the CNN chain.
The Mayor insisted that he was not at war with the Unitary Federation of Teachers (FUT) and its president, Michael Mulgrew, who has demanded a temporary return to remote learning.
“Those who will suffer the most will be the poorest children who do not have access to the internet. We are working to keep classrooms safe. But they will remain open“, Held.
Slow garbage collection
Garbage collection services are also slowing down. The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) confirmed that up to a 25% of your payroll has reported sick leave this past week.
The DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson informed the PIX11 chain who are working with the available workforce to expand the routes and cancel the days off.
Given the forecasts of snowfall that could amount to 8 inches in the tri-state area in the coming days, the official warned on delays “that are being resolved”, but reported that they have strategies to face the effects of weather conditions that involve special operations.
They follow the fury of omicron:
- 5,495 hospitalizations in total this Tuesday, compared to 5,038 on Monday.
- 594 inmates in intensive care units compared to 538 on Monday.
- 932 hospital admissions in all five boroughs.
- 30,854 new cases reported this Tuesday.
- 21.4% of all tests administered they were positive.