COVID News

COVID-19 Update: Then And Now (It’s Better Now)

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May 7, 2021

By Barrett Seaman—

Just three months ago, The Hudson Independent reported that, “All but two or three of the state’s designated vaccination sites continue to register ‘no appointments available,’ and those that are available are hundreds of miles from Westchester and more than a month away from delivery. Pharmacies are now getting shipments—some directly from the federal government and some from the state, but in batches of 100 to 1,000 doses each that are snapped up in the blink of any eye. With the admission over the weekend of people under 65 with co-morbidities, the demand pressure has accelerated dramatically.

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As of February 15, 2021, the four rivertown villages had 247 new cases of COVID they had not had the day before. “A sea of frustration” surrounded efforts to get the new vaccines that were so near and yet not near—like in Potsdam and Plattsburgh.

As the first full week in May, 2021 draws to an end, there were only 49 new cases in all of Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Irvington and Dobbs Ferry, with Irvington showing only three. There are now more vaccine doses available in Westchester County than there are people willing or eligible to receive them. “We’re now trying to market our vaccines,” said County Executive George Latimer on Thursday. “We’re trying to come up with ways to encourage you to get a vaccine.”

Among them, a Public Service ad airing on countywide television channels featuring the star players and coach of the New York Knicks and a “Kick COVID to the Curb” pitch to teens and young adults—all encouraging them to go and get the vaccine. And with CVS, Walgreens  and Stop & Shop now open for walk-in vaccines, along with the state and county-run sites, it is a different world from what it was just 90 days ago.

Infection rates in the rivertowns one year ago

If that isn’t enough to brighten your day, harken back to May, 2020. On Cinco de Mayo, George Latimer was trying to put a positive spin in reporting that there had been only 5,700 new cases overnight—down from more than 10,000. A week later, Delta Airlines announced that it was suspending all flights in and out of Westchester and Stewart Airports. Most local enterprises were either shuttered or  conducting business wholly on-line. Those restaurants that could were doing carry-out service only and otherwise providing meals for those who could not afford to buy food for their families. As summer approached, outdoor events, including much-loved riverside concerts and camps were cancelled and public pools closed. Train service to the city was drastically curtailed and Metro North parking lots were all but empty.

In just the past two weeks, as The Hudson Independent has been reporting, movie theaters, including the Jacob Burns Film Center, have opened; Lyndhurst is welcoming back visitors and recently hosted a revived Crafts Show. The villages’ two performance theaters, Tarrytown’s venerable Music Hall and Irvington’s Town Hall Theater, have announced the scheduling of live acts. And the Jazz Forum outdoor concerts in Dobbs Ferry and Tarrytown are back on the summer schedule.

The proverbial Fat Lady is yet to burst into song, but she is waiting in the wings.

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