Another vaccine mandate takes effect

Today is Friday. We will look at a new mandate that covers about 250,000 home health care workers. We will also look at an opera for and by the tree.

Representatives of the home health care industry are concerned that the new state vaccine mandate will prompt thousands of workers to quit their jobs, cut off care for patients who are recovering from hospital stays or who rely on long-term colleagues for support. . I asked my colleague Sharon Otterman to discuss what the mandate meant.

This is the second phase of a mandate for health care workers in New York. What’s different from the first round?

In the first round of mandatory vaccination for health care workers, people working in hospitals and nursing homes were required to be vaccinated by September 27 – doctors, nurses, orderlies and technicians. This round includes home health care workers; people working in adult care facilities and dialysis centers; and hospice workers.

How many have been vaccinated?

The state monitors vaccination data of hospital workers and nursing home personnel. It is also tracking vaccination status in adult care facilities, which have about 30,000 employees. But the state is not formally tracking vaccination status among home health aides. So, in a sense, the state does not know how big a mountain this industry has to climb to reach 100%.

Some industry representatives believe that seven out of 10 home health care workers – a category of at least 250,000 people in New York – have been vaccinated.

But there was also some evidence that people rushed to get vaccinated as the deadline approached. The Visiting Nurse Service reported vaccination rates of 90 percent on Tuesday and 94 percent on Thursday.

Industry representatives say the loss of even 5 percent of the workforce could be severe as the sector already has a shortage of nearly 100,000 workers. There’s no waiting around to take these jobs, and there are many other fields that pay roughly the same. A home health aide can switch to a different, less grueling job where there is no vaccination mandate, like a retail job.

Or that person may switch to something called consumer-directed care, which is another class of home health aide. About 30 or 40 percent of health aides working now are consumer-directed, meaning the patient hires you directly, without any agency. Those collaborators don’t need to be vaccinated.

Governor Hochul declared a state of emergency, which empowers him to deploy the National Guard to make up for the shortage of staff. Is this the best option?

Industry executives tell me the National Guard is not fit to be a home health aide. You really don’t want your National Guard recruits to walk in and help Grandma take a bath.

Why does there seem to be vaccine resistance among home health allies?

This is a diffuse work force. Many of them have covid and feel that he is protecting them, and some of them who haven’t got covid feel that if they haven’t got covid yet, they are not going.

Some also feel that their patients are protected if they are vaccinated. This is partly a messaging problem. The public message on the successful transition has not been clarified. The message given is that if a person is vaccinated, he is safe.

The public health message needs to do a better job of making it clear that this is not necessarily the case.


There is a chance of rain this weekend, so try to enjoy the partly sunny weather today. Temperatures will again be in the mid 70s.

optional side parking

Effective until Monday (Columbus Day).

Tell us about a New York moment you spent most recently. Write it down (in 200 words or less)! then email us or dm us @NYTMetro on Twitter.

Kamala Sankramam composed an opera for and about trees. Humans are welcome to listen.

The composition, “The Last Stand,” has been billed as “a public sound installation and experimental opera” by the arts organization Creative Time, which has selected it from 400 applications for its Emerging Artists Open Call initiative. The final three performances of “The Last Stand” in Prospect Park – where it has been staged several times a week since mid-September – are scheduled for today, tomorrow and Sunday. (Use the Ocean Avenue entrance on Lincoln Road and look for a wooded area near the Music Pagoda.)

At just over 10 hours, “The Last Stand” is longer than Wagnerian epics such as “Die Meistersinger” and “Parsifal”, clocking in at just under 5 hours 45 minutes at the Metropolitan Opera.

Sankaram – who also wrote the music for “Interstate”, a production that the Minnesota Opera will begin Saturday – said no one had stayed for the full 10 hours. Except for the trees in the park, of course.

Unlike Wagner, who wrote for vocals and an orchestra, Sankaram used field recordings that captured sounds such as water and wind. A white-throated sparrow appears repeatedly, and he is said to have frogs that sound like a berimbau, a stringed Brazilian instrument and a resonating gourd.

He found his hero, a 280-year-old tree, in the Black Rock Forest in the Hudson Valley. He spoke to the researchers about “what music can be for trees” after being inspired by the work of Susan Simard, a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia, he said. Simard’s research pointed to a kind of circulatory system—the fungal network that carries water and nutrients from the largest trees in the forest to the seedlings.

But Sankaram opted to record the sounds of the forest a tree might experience after deciding that it could not imitate those networks without presenting “my own human thought” of what they might sound like. Huh.

Dear Diary:

I believed—as a single, 20-something who’s read Joan Didion a lot as they do—that there was nothing more New York than me getting a drink.

Maybe I’ll replace the intimate sayings with a handsome bartender while he mixes me a custom cocktail. Maybe I’ll close my eyes with another lonely patron who was wielding his own nightcap before heading back to his empty studio.

So, one balmy Friday night in late August I decided it was time to go out for that single drink. But where?

My first stop was a new restaurant that opened on my block, a place I knew catered to a small, artsy clientele and served delicious cocktails.

But as soon as I looked out the window, I saw that almost all the bar stools were occupied and most of the people were drinking in pairs. The lone bartender seemed upset, and she was buried in her phone. I didn’t even reach the hostess’s stand.

The second time looked more promising: Deep lighting, lively atmosphere, extensive wine list. But to my dismay, there was already another girl enjoying the nightcap alone, and that had caught the bartender’s attention.

Conquering myself, I thought as I was headed to a wine bar just around the corner. This time I went right inside and climbed on a stool.

The bartender came right upstairs.

I rolled my eyes to match him, ready to let my New York imagination take flight.

“Sorry,” he said excitedly. “Were closed.”

— Julia Liebergel

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.

Glad we could be here together. see you tomorrow. – jb

ps today is mini crossword And spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.

Melissa Guerrero, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York Today. you can reach the team

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