Stay safe and healthy while
celebrating the new year
COURIER LIFE, DEC.20 31, 2021-JAN. 6, 2022
Around here, us native
New Yorkers often say
that it’s only tourists
who look up at our skyline.
But as one year passes into
another this weekend, it’s time
for all of us to look up as well
-— not at the skyline, but at the
bright future ahead.
The year 2021 wasn’t better
than most past years, but
it was certainly a marked improvement
from its immediate
predecessor. We are reminded
of the dark days of
2020 now with the resurgence
of COVID-19 through the fastspreading
but even today, this point in
our history is nowhere near
as grave as the spring of 2020
was — not by a longshot.
We have vaccines. We have
monoclonal antibodies. Soon,
we’ll have pills that are effective
at beating back COVID-
19’s symptoms and make them
treatable, not life-threatening.
We’re going to get through
Omicron; this too shall pass,
and once it does, the recovery
that began this year will kick
into an even higher gear.
The rumors of New York
City’s downward spiral and
death are truly exaggerated.
Sure, crime is up. We’ve
been there before, we turned
it around before, we’ll do it
The subways were fi lling
up slowly but steadily before
Omicron, and they will do so
again as we get past this bump
in the road. Businesses are reinventing
themselves and beginning
to boom again; in spite
of infl ation, the economy is in
far better shape than it was a
year ago, with still plenty of
growing to do.
We have a new mayor and
a new city government taking
hold. Here’s hoping Eric Adams
can do what Bill de Blasio
could not — deliver on promises
of genuine improvement,
bolster businesses large and
small, reform police while
stopping violent crime, unite
the city, and be a true champion
for New York and all that
it stands for.
When the ball drops at
Times Square on Friday night,
and we count down the last
moments of 2021, we should
feel some pride in the recovery
that’s taken shape this
past year; joy that we have the
tools to stop COVID-19; and
hope that the future will indeed
be brighter, and that 2022
will be an even more productive,
prosperous and healthy
year for New York and beyond.
May all of you look up toward
a very happy, safe and
joyous New Year for all!
Look up, New York
BY DR. DAVE A. CHOKSHI
The holidays are here, with the new
year approaching, and I know many
New Yorkers are making diffi cult decisions
on how to connect with family,
friends and loved ones.
This is a time of the year we all look
forward to, and while this holiday may
not be exactly what we wished for, we
can still make it a safe and healthy one
by taking a few precautions.
COVID-19 cases are surging in New
York City and across the country because
of the Omicron variant, and we expect the
steep increase to continue in the coming
weeks. Hospitalizations will also follow,
particularly among the unvaccinated.
Now is the moment to make a difference
in this next wave of the pandemic. We
have the tools to shape our destiny.
Here is my best advice to protect
yourselves and your community in the
First, plan your holidays around
your most vulnerable family member.
It may mean hosting a virtual gathering,
moving activities outdoors, using
masks, same-day tests, and staying
home if you feel sick. I also advise
older adults and others at higher risk to
skip optional activities, particularly in
For my own family, we’ve made some
adjustments to holiday plans around my
young daughter, who isn’t yet eligible for
vaccination. We decided to postpone outof
town travel for now—though we will
still fi nd ways to spend time with family,
locally and virtually.
Second, common sense precautions
can help us lower the risk of COVID-19
and still enjoy holiday festivities. Highquality
mask (like a KN95, KF94, or
N95), social distancing, and testing add
more layers of protection. Beyond meeting
up outdoors, improving ventilation
and limiting gatherings only to those
who are fully vaccinated will also help.
Third, the people I am most worried
about are those who remain unvaccinated.
Vaccination is vital — even against
Omicron—because it can protect you
from severe disease. Having nearly 6
million New Yorkers fully vaccinated
built up our defense ahead of this Omicron
wave. Boosters reinforce that protection.
While the evidence is still emerging,
Pfi zer released preliminary, laboratory
data showing a 25-fold increase in protective
antibodies after a third dose, and
Moderna released similar data showing
a 37-fold increase. An additional dose
will help keep your COVID-19 immunity
up to date.
If you’re at least six months out from
your Pfi zer or Moderna second-dose, or
two months out from your Johnson &
Johnson dose, get your booster today.
This week, the Mayor announced the
$100 incentive for booster shots across
City sites. In total, over 1,000 sites are offering
booster doses — just visit nyc.gov/
vaccinefi nder or call 877-VAX4NYC to get
linked to one — or go to nyc.gov/homevaccine
to schedule a booster dose at home.
Unvaccinated New Yorkers should
take extra precautions for themselves
and for the safety of others — like avoiding
travel — and remember that it’s
never too late to get vaccinated. Regular
testing is also particularly important
for the unvaccinated. Since demand for
testing is high, consider taking regular
home self-tests, since supplies will increase.
If you test positive after taking
a home self-test, you should call your
provider, or 212-COVID19, in order to be
linked to care.
New Yorkers have been through so
much during the COVID-19 pandemic,
and I know everyone is feeling anxiety
and fatigue. But the virus is spreading
every day, and we are still in an emergency.
I urge everyone to follow our holiday
guidance. It will undoubtedly be
a challenging few weeks and months
ahead, but I have faith that we will get
through this together.
Dr. Chokshi is New York City’s