New York: Where Omicron Killed The Pandemic Panic Narrative
This past Sunday has seen New York state achieve the dubious distinction of becoming the nexus of COVID-19 in the US. Based on Johns Hopkins data, nearly half of all new COVID-19 cases in the US occurred New York.
New York state had 82,350 positive cases on Sunday, while the United States had 181,948 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This comes amid new data from Gov. Kathy Hochul that shows hospitalizations in New York state from COVID-19 have reached the highest levels since February.
To repeat my observation from my Telegram channel on this “accomplishment”, “irony abounds”. As both a highly vaccinated state and a state which has had fairly restrictive lockdown and containment policies, New York has, with this most recent surge in COVID-19 cases, become the state where the pandemic panic narrative received mortal injury.
New York Was Supposed To Do Better
In the pandemic panic narrative, where lockdowns and face masks actually work, New York's spike in cases simply should not have happened.
The state has, from the beginning, taken a hard-line stance against COVID-19, earning the state the 39th spot on the Becker's Hospital Review ranking of states by COVID-19 restrictions. On December 9, as Omicron made its presence known in the state, Governor Hochul ordered businesses to implement either a vaccine mandate or a face mask mandate for patrons.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. This a major action to address the winter surge comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise statewide to be in alignment with the CDC's recommendations for communities with substantial and high transmission. The State Health Commissioner issued a determination solidifying the requirement.
New York is one of the more highly vaccinated states, with over 80% of the state fully vaccinated and over 90% of adults having at least one dose.
In sum, New York is a poster child for the official “correct “ way to manage COVID-19 outbreaks. In every regard, the state's policies are “by the book". Yet the state is seeing a more rapid rise in cases than any other.
“By the book" policies are simply not working. Viewed in retrospect, the state's COVID-19 policies have never had the desired effect, as restrictions have reliably preceded case rises—the exact opposite of what is supposed to happen.
This was not supposed to happen in New York. Yet it did.
Hospital Capacity Chicanery
As cases began climbing late last month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced “urgent action” to boost New York's hospital capacity and address chronic staffing shortages.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced urgent action to boost hospital capacity and address staffing shortages ahead of potential spikes in COVID-19 cases this upcoming winter. Through an Executive Order signed by Governor Hochul, the Department of Health will be allowed to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures for in-hospitals or systems with limited capacity to protect access to critical health care services. Limited capacity is defined as below 10% staffed bed capacity, or as determined by the Department of Health based on regional and health care utilization factors.
However, one must read between the lines, as Governor Hochul's order did not actually increase the number of staffed hospital beds, according to the HHS data.
Not only has New York not reported an increase in staffed hospital beds to HHS, but over the past four weeks staffed hospital beds have declined, from 48,019 the week of November 29 to 43,509 for the week of December 27. What Governor Hochul defines as “boosting capacity” appears to be not an actual increase in capacity, but rather granting hospitals authority to turn away patients and deny care.
Even so, as of this writing, New York hospitals are reporting at 74% capacity, with 11,180 available inpatient beds and 6,630 COVID-19 beds. As I have discussed regarding other states, Governor Hochul is addressing a crisis that is not reflected in the data reported to HHS. Moreover, she is not addressing this crisis by working to expand hospital capacity, but merely to manipulate patient populations.
New York: Poster Child For Policy Failure
While New York stands as a poster child for the “official” policies for managing COVID-19 outbreaks, both its track record and the current surge in COVID-19 cases show New York to be the poster child for the failure of those policies. Regardless of the logic or intent of the policy, the outcome has never been a reduction in cases, but most frequently the opposite.
With Omicron, that policy failure has been made plain for all to see. Vaccinations have failed to stop community spread of COVID-19. Mask mandates have failed to stop community spread of COVID-19. Hospital capacity word games have failed to mask the stubborn refusal of COVID-19 patients to run en masse to the nearest hospital ER at the first cough or sniffle.
The Omicron wave will pass, as have all the previous waves. If South Africa is any guide, the Omicron wave will pass fairly quickly.
When the Omicron wave does recede, it will carry with it the last shreds of credibility for the premise that the lockdowns, mandates, and vaccination obsessions have had any beneficial effects whatsoever. New York stands as the state where Omicron killed the pandemic panic narrative hyping these “solutions”.
The heavy hand of government diktat is simply the wrong approach to addressing infectious respiratory disease. The data proves it.