Good morning. It’s Monday. Today we look at the case of Mayor Eric Adamsf COVID-19† He tested positive for the coronavirus just after meeting New Yorkers at several events that were 100 days in office, and is being treated with antiviral drugs. And we’ll explain who qualifies for the drug and how to get it. It’s easier than you think – we’ve tried.
“New York is back, honey.” So is Covid.
Adams was focused on reopening the city after the Omicron wave in the winter — so focused, he explained to my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons, that he couldn’t obsess over the optics of going to gala events while city workers the camps of the homeless, or is concerned about his own exposure to the virus.
“I have to feed my nightlife to get tourists back here — a multi-billion dollar industry,” he said.
As for the virus, he said on Wednesday, he had managed to avoid dealing with it even while he was “always around people – even in the heart of Covid,” he said, adding: “ I think it’s a combination of my eating style, and maybe there’s a bit of luck involved, but no, I’ve never had it.”
However, that luck ran out over the weekend, when a raspy throat prompted a test that turned out to be positive. It is difficult to determine how someone becomes infected; Adams attended the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington last weekend, after which dozens of attendees tested positive.
However, Adams quickly took the opportunity to spread the word about the antiviral drugs. They are now available for free to New Yorkers who qualify by being over age 65 or by having a long list of eligible risk factors.
The mayor is eligible for antiviral drugs, and so can you
City hall immediately announced that the mayor is taking an antiviral drug; his doctors deemed him suitable and recommended the treatment, which reduces the chance of hospitalization. Several drugs have been approved and found to reduce the chances of a mild to moderate infection developing into a serious one.
(City hall didn’t immediately provide details about what medication Adams was taking or what made him eligible. The mayor has a history of diabetes, one of the qualifying conditions.)
How it goes
The jury disagrees on the mayor’s handling of the virus. Both the city and state have rolled back a number of virus and mask mandates, although Adams has postponed the lifting of a preschool mask mandate due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
But as Fitzsimmons and our colleagues Jeffrey C. Mays and Dana Rubinstein report, he’s most likely to be judged on the political scorecard on the issue he talked about: public safety and criminal justice. Increases in some types of crime during the pandemic are a national phenomenon that he may not be able to control.
On Wednesday, the city’s police commissioner released new crime figures showing a 36 percent increase in major crimes and a 16 percent increase in shootings over the past year, even as homicide rates fell.
“I won’t get the grade I deserve until we see crime moving in the right direction,” said Mr. Adams to Fitzsimmons in the City Hall interview.
Enjoy a mostly sunny day, New York, with temperatures in the 50s and a chance of showers late at night when temperatures dip to around 50.
parking on the other side
Valid until Thursday (Maundy Thursday).
The latest New York news
Other great stories
How New Yorkers can get medicine for Covid-19
There is now a way to treat Covid-19 with antiviral drugs that some New Yorkers can get for free. They won’t cure you, but if taken during the first four to five days of symptoms, they can increase your chances of staying out of the hospital.
In my experience, neither my friends and neighbors nor our own doctors are fully aware. When the mayor talked about taking antivirals, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that last week.
Then, as you have read in this space, the virus started to spread through my household. A receptionist in our doctor’s office offered little advice and didn’t mention the option of medication, saying only to follow the isolation instructions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
At the mayor’s insistence, I checked it. It turns out that many people qualify for treatment, including me. It only took 20 minutes on a smartphone (on Sunday afternoon) to get a prescription, scheduled for delivery today.
The city’s health department website shows that the two antiviral drugs approved in December, Paxlovid and molnupiravir, are available to New Yorkers over 65 and to others 12 and older deemed risky according to this list.
The pills, it says, are free from Alto Pharmacy — and they deliver.
Too good to be true? I asked my colleagues Sharon Otterman and Joseph Goldstein, who are beating Covid. They said it IS true, but there is a lot of confusion – as Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell, found out† After her doctor falsely told her she was ineligible, she got the pills through the city’s hotline.
They helpful posted the number: 212-COVID19.
So I called it. I pressed 9 for treatment. Twenty minutes, maybe worse, music on hold later, a friendly woman replied. She looked me up – I’m already on the city system, because I use it for free tests – and texted me a link. When I clicked, it connected us via video call. She smiled and waved.
She then video-connected me to a doctor, who went through my eligibility as well as side effects and drug interactions. She also met my expectations: the pills have not been proven to stop “long Covid”. Qualification was by honor system: I stated eligibility requirements, but was not required to provide proof. She sent the prescription and a text message appeared from Alto confirming it.
A few hours later, Alto texted again to schedule the delivery. Here’s the one caveat: As with other delivery apps, take “same day” with a grain of salt. They will be here Monday afternoon.
What we are reading
My husband and I got married at the town clerk’s office in February. Our appointment was on a Friday at 9:15 am. We were only allowed one witness at the ceremony, so my sister-in-law joined us while other family members waited outside in the car.
Then we walked to Jack’s Wife Freda for a celebratory brunch. As we sat down and waited to order, “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups started playing loudly over the restaurant’s sound system.
Our waiter came out with cava in front of the table, followed by other members of staff, clapping to the beat and smiling.
The rest of the patrons joined in. No one complained that their quiet weekday breakfast was interrupted by the celebration.
My eyes filled with tears.
— Sarah Henry
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here†
Glad we could get together here. James Barron will be back tomorrow. — AB
PS Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and game match† Here you will find all our puzzles†