Upstate New York Is A Hot Zone
The masks came off, infection went up.
The title of the piece by Adeel Hassan and Lauren McCarthy in the NY Times tells all: The Largest U.S. Coronavirus Hot Spot Swells Beyond Central New York. They detail the dynamics behind the map above:
The hot spot that started in central New York is the biggest, darkest blotch on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mostly pristine national map, and it may grow bigger still when the map is updated on Thursday evening.
No one seems to know what is happening, but the spike may be linked to spring break:
The surge was first spotted after the February school vacation week in some of his county’s more affluent towns, suggesting that travel may have played a role. The region is also home to a large number of colleges and universities, including Syracuse University in Onondaga County and one of the largest State University of New York campuses, Binghamton University, in Broome County.
As the highly infectious subvariants continue to ripple outward from the original hot spot, turning more counties orange or yellow in the Northeast and farther afield, Mr. [Ryan] McMahon [the county executive of Onondaga County] said he was at a loss to say what might have made his county one of the first to be affected.
“If you look at mask mandates, they came off at the same time” all over the region, he said. “Somehow the contagious subvariant got here first.”
But McMahon, and other county execs, are unwilling to return to mask mandates. As he said,
Mandates don’t work well, they create anxiety in the community, and they’re unenforceable.
They’ve given up on a public health approach, and are just crossing their fingers behind their backs. They are ignoring the advice of the CDC:
Health experts say that people in the hot spot, which includes cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton, should be increasing their precautions. “These are areas where C.D.C. recommends people should wear a mask in public indoor settings due to an increasing level of severe disease and the potential for significant health care strain,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the C.D.C. director, told reporters on Tuesday.
And the red splotch is spreading.