Good morning. It’s Monday. Today we’ll look at Mayor Eric Adams’s case of Covid-19. He tested positive for the coronavirus just after meeting New Yorkers at several events marking 100 days in office, and is being treated with antiviral medications. And we’ll explain who’s eligible for the medicine and how to get it. It’s easier than you think — we tried it.
Credit…Stephanie Keith for The New York Times
“New York is back, baby.” So’s Covid.
Adams has been focused on reopening the city after the Omicron surge over the winter — so focused, he explained to my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons, that he couldn’t obsess about the optics of going to gala events as city workers dismantle the encampments of homeless people, or fret about his own exposure to the virus.
“I got to feed my nightlife to get tourists back here — a multibillion-dollar industry,” he said.
As for the virus, he said on Wednesday, he had managed to avoid coming down with it even while being “around people all the time — even in the heart of Covid,” he said, adding, “I think it’s a combination of my eating lifestyle, and some luck maybe involved but no, I never had it.”
That luck, though, ran out over the weekend, when a raspy throat prompted a test that turned up positive. It’s hard to pinpoint how anyone gets infected; Adams attended the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington last weekend, after which dozens of attendees tested positive.
Adams, though, quickly took the opportunity to spread the word about the antiviral medications. They are now available at no cost to New Yorkers who qualify by being older than 65 or by having one of a long list of eligible risk factors.
The mayor qualifies for antiviral medicines, and you may too
City Hall immediately announced that the mayor is taking an antiviral medication; his doctors deemed him eligible and recommended the treatment, which reduces the chances of hospitalization. Several medications have been approved and found to reduce the chances of a mild to moderate infection progressing to a serious one.
(City Hall did not immediately provide details on which medication Adams was taking or what made him eligible. The mayor has a history of diabetes, one of the qualifying conditions. )
How it’s going otherwise
The jury is out on the mayor’s handling of the virus. Both the city and state have rolled back some virus and mask mandates, though Adams postponed the lifting of a preschool mask mandate because of the recent rise in coronavirus cases.
But as Fitzsimmons and our colleagues Jeffrey C. Mays and Dana Rubinstein report, on the political scorecard he’s most likely to be judged on the issue he ran on: 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 announced new crime figures that showed a 36 percent increase in major crimes and a 16 percent rise in shootings over the past year, even as homicides fell.
“I do not get the grade that I deserve until we start seeing crime move in the right direction,” Mr. Adams told Fitzsimmons in the interview at City Hall.
Enjoy a mostly sunny day, New York, with temps in the 50s and a chance of showers late at night when temps drop to around 50.
In effect until Thursday (Holy Thursday).
The latest New York news
Starbucks workers at six stores in upstate New York voted to unionize, bringing the total number of company-owned stores where workers have backed a union to 16.
Amazon objected on Friday to a landmark union election at its Staten Island fulfillment center, saying an upstart union’s unorthodox tactics there crossed legal lines.
Other big stories
New York’s vaunted theater industry has been betting on a big spring. But some of its biggest stars have been sidelined by positive coronavirus tests.
Tens of billions of dollars are being spent on what, where and how consumers will eat in the coming years. Laws and regulations aren’t always keeping up.
How New Yorkers can get medicine for Covid-19
There’s now a way to treat Covid-19 with antiviral medications 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 informed. When the mayor mentioned taking antivirals, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of this last week.
That’s when, as you may have read in this space, the virus started spreading through my household. A receptionist at our doctor’s office offered little advice and did not mention the possibility of medication, saying only to follow isolation directions on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Well, prompted by the mayor, I checked it out. It turns out that many people are eligible for treatment, including me. It took just 20 minutes on a smartphone (on Sunday afternoon) to get a prescription, scheduled for delivery today.
The city health department’s 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 high-risk 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 cover Covid. They said it IS true, but there’s a lot of confusion — as Catherine Rampell, a Washington Post columnist, found out. After her doctor incorrectly told her she wasn’t eligible, she got the pills through the city’s hotline.
She helpfully posted the number: 212-COVID19.
So I called it. I pressed 9 for treatment. Twenty minutes of could-be-worse hold music later, a friendly woman answered. She looked me up — I’m in the city system already, since I use it for free tests — and texted me a link. When I clicked, it connected us by video call. She smiled and waved.
Then she connected me by video with a doctor, who went over my eligibility, as well as side effects and drug interactions. She also managed my expectations: The pills aren’t proven to stave off “long Covid.” Qualifying was by honor system: I listed eligible conditions but did not have to provide proof. She sent the prescription, and a text popped up from Alto confirming it.
A couple hours later, Alto texted again to schedule delivery. Here’s the one caveat: As with other delivery apps, take “same-day” with a grain of salt. They’ll be here Monday afternoon.
What we’re reading
“It’s hard, but we’re leaving while we’re still on top,” said Derek Forlini, one of the cousins who ran Forlini’s, the beloved red-sauce restaurant in Chinatown that served its last clams casino.
On his debut album, the Brooklyn rapper Fivio Foreign hopes to smooth a path forward for the city’s ascendant hip-hop scene, even as it draws criticism amid a rise in gun violence.
“Chapel of Love”
My husband and I got married at the City Clerk’s office in February. Our appointment was at 9:15 a.m. on a Friday. We were only allowed to have one witness at the ceremony, so my sister-in-law joined us while other family members waited outside in the car.
Afterward, 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 began to play loudly over the restaurant’s sound system.
Our waiter came out with cava for the table, with other members of the staff following behind, clapping to the beat and smiling.
The rest of the patrons joined in the merriment. No one complained that their quiet weekday breakfast was being 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. — A.B.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero, Jeff Boda and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].