Coronavirus Update #49: Vaccines Arriving in Crown Heights

Coronavirus update for the Crown Heights community, from the Gedaliah Society and Dr. Eli Rosen: Number of cases has leveled off, vaccines expected this coming week, and a live webinar to address concerns.

Boruch Hashem the daily average of cases appears to have levelled off, and is no longer rising; we hope IYH soon it will not only plateau but also decline. COVID nonetheless remains endemic (always present) in our community and we continue to urge those that are older and have not previously been ill to take appropriate precautions, particularly with respect to crowded indoor places and events where mask use and social distancing is not practiced. 

Mitigation of this process (to achieve many fewer infections) is obviously a priority for the community. There are various ways to bring this about, that when applied together will hopefully result in the infection disappearing from our midst, and IYH continuing to keep our institutions open. This must be a multipronged approach.

As far as possible social events should have limited attendees and the venues as open as possible, to allow for distancing. We all need to be very cognizant of not attending simchas when feeling in any way ill. This applies to children as well. Anyone who is ill should get tested immediately. Choosing NOT to know can only result in further spread of the virus. 

Those that are sick with COVID and those who have been closely exposed to someone with COVID, please continue to follow the following isolation and quarantine guidelines: People ill with the virus are isolated for 10 days from the beginning of their symptoms.  Those closely exposed to the infectious individual should quarantine themselves (not socializing) and can get tested after 5 days. If negative, they may exit the state of quarantine after day 7, being particularly careful with personal mask use and distancing (as they may still be infectious up to 14 days). If they choose not to be tested, quarantine lasts a minimum of 10 days with the same 14 day conditions as above.

Unfortunately, and for reasons both known and unknown, the above measures imperfectly applied have not resulted in an end to the spread of the virus locally, and we are still witnessing the profound loss and disruption caused by an ongoing presence of the virus. This fact, along with a pressing need for everyone to resume a normal existence, brings us to a brief discussion of the vaccine:

If the government meets its promise, the vaccine will hopefully be available locally in the coming week, with the current policy initially allowing for those over 75 years of age or high risk to receive the vaccine (details as laid out by the governor). This will need to be coordinated with your medical provider, or obtained from one of the city vaccine sites that will hopefully soon be set up.

In a general way, a successful vaccination program holds the greatest promise of eradicating this illness, and we stand firmly behind implementation of widespread vaccination. We understand that any intervention in the medical realm carries risk, however as the serious casualties of this illness continue to mount, we need to turn to the tools that Hashem has provided us, as we have done in previous epidemics, with faith that we will be free of this scourge soon.

We understand that there are many questions related to the vaccine, both with respect to its safety and its necessity.  IYH we will be having a live webinar session by Dr. Naor Bar-Zeev to address many of the questions that arise. Dr. Bar-Zeev is an infectious diseases physician and statistical epidemiologist who has done extensive research into vaccines and their development, and is an associate professor of International Health and Vaccine Sciences at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Please submit any questions beforehand to [email protected], with “vaccine” in the subject line.  Alternatively, please direct message any questions via Instagram to @gedaliahupdates. We will try to organize the questions that come in and have Dr. Bar-Zeev address them in an organized fashion. 

Wishing everyone continued good health,

Good Shabbos !

     -The Gedaliah Society, in conjunction with Dr. Rosen

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