Vaccine COVID-19 Mandate Marches & Protests in New York City Grow
Protests against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate grew as New York City became an epicenter of restless, activist activity. Over 100 vocal protesters showed up on Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to let the world know they “stand with Kyrie Irving.” One of the National Basketball Association’s top guards, Irving has refused to accept vaccines even though it’s a condition of the league. The “Stand with Kyrie” protest showed up at the Brooklyn vs. Charlotte Hornets game and surprised some newscasters who perhaps had certain assumptions about the types of people opposed to mandates. Some networks noted the diversity of the audience, which included African Americans, Asians, the elderly, the young, and families. The mostly peaceful and well-behaved crowd could be a harbinger of days to come. Meanwhile, yesterday a large march of vaccine mandate protesters assembled and marched across the Brooklyn Bridge. Their target—a call for medical choice.
An NBA Star Makes a Stand
Kyrie Irving, arguably the best ball-handling guard in history, is not a stranger to controversy. The unorthodox player has taken numerous stands on various societal issues. Branded by some as a conspiracy theorist and others as a dynamic activist using his platform for social good, he donated $1.5 million to help Women’s NBA players who opted out of playing during the pandemic, according to ESPN.
While Irvine has declared that he has the right to medical choice based on personal preference, (whether that be religious or whatever) the team doesn’t agree and has blocked him from practicing or playing until he receives a COVID-19 vaccine. According to Nets General Manager Sean Marks, Irving cannot play until he is “eligible to be a full participant.”
Of course, Marks must deal with the New York City mandate which imposes vaccination rules across many locations from stadiums such as the Barclays Center to museums.
The protesters that showed up Sunday looked a lot like a cross-section of New York City itself. Various participants posted videos on Twitter. A few of the protesters became unruly, trying to push their way into the game, but sufficient security blocked the path. The team’s management has declared they won’t press any charges, but the City might.
Large Brooklyn Bridge Protest
Then, on Monday a large group in the many thousands marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the vaccine mandate on behalf of almost 50,000 New York City municipal workers who have yet to receive their jabs. Representing what traditionally would be a Democratic Party constituency, thousands of public workers, including police and fire departments, paramedics, sanitation workers, and public-school teachers showed up in a surprisingly large event to report people on the ground. Reuters covered the event.
They are angered that by Friday, October 29 by 5 PM they must demonstrate proof of vaccination or go on immediate unpaid leave. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s edict was announced via the New York City Office of the Mayor’s website.
According to the Office of the Mayor, 95% of the New York City health and hospital workers and 96% of Department of Education workers have already been vaccinated—these groups had to meet a September mandate. Now, the entire municipal workforce must be vaccinated by November 1.
COVID-19 Updates NYC
To date, New Yorkers have experienced surges during this pandemic. The first and most deadly surge occurred in April and May, horrifying the nation and world as images of overcrowded ICUs and mortality went on display for all via the media. A second surge involved many more cases, but less mortality occurred starting in November 2020 through early spring 2021. Then, a third spike occurred during March but a decline in cases was seen that corresponded with several factors from vaccination and more than likely natural immunity, as well as possibly emerging treatments and use of off-label products such as ivermectin.
COVID-19 infections precipitously declined to 172 cases per day (based on a 7-day average) by the Fourth of July. For reference, that same average daily rate on March 27 just a few months earlier was 5,705 per day. But when the Delta variant cases started rising, including breakthrough cases—that is, vaccinated people becoming infected—by August 1,223 cases per day were reported. In September that case count increased to 1,944 daily, and by October 25 cases started spiking up to 2,666 per day.
The good news in New York is that the mortality rate has remained low; other than the nightmarish scenario during the onset of the pandemic, the death count in America’s biggest city has remained low compared to many other places.
New Yorkers are mostly vaccinated. As of October 24, 66.2%, of the entire population was fully inoculated while 73.6% of the City’s population have received at least one dose. According to New York City Department of Health (DOH) statistics, Brooklyn and the Bronx are the least fully immunized at 60% while not surprisingly Manhattan represents the most fully vaccinated at 74%.
Ethnically speaking, only 44% of Blacks have been vaccinated throughout the City, and interestingly, only 51% of Whites and 57% of Hispanics are vaccinated. Asian/Pacific Islanders are the City’s most vaccinated ethnic group(s) at 79% reports the DOH.
With 8.4 million people, New York City’s population is 25.5% Black and nearly 29% Hispanic