Updated, 9:15 a.m.
Good morning on this gloppy Wednesday.
Rain is gradually changing to snow across the city. By morning’s end, we could see up to an inch as temperatures hover just above freezing.
This weather may not feel great to you, but it creates ideal conditions for the flu virus, which — it’s true — lives longer and reproduces faster in the cold: The protective layer around the virus is stronger in the cold, enabling it to live longer and replicate more quickly.
We asked local experts — Dr. Katharine Miao, a medical director at CityMD, and Dr. Mirella Salvatore, an infectious disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian — to fact-check that and other commonly held beliefs about the contagious disease.
True or false?
“The flu is worse this year.” True.
“Every year, it’s a big problem,” Dr. Salvatore said, “but this year one of the reasons people are getting worried is because the strain circulating is one of the H3N2 family, a virus that compared to the H1N1 is known to be more severe and less responsive to the vaccine.”
“It’s too late to get the vaccine.” False.
“The flu season can last through April,” Dr. Miao said, “so we are still encouraging people to get it.” Keep in mind it takes about two weeks to become immunized so sooner, better.
“The shot will give me the flu.” False.
“It’s there to train your immune system on how to respond to the flu,” Dr. Miao said of the flu shot, comparing it with the muscle soreness you might feel the day after a strenuous workout. “Sometimes people feel tired and achy afterwards, but it’s because your immune system is going through a training program.”
“New Yorkers are more susceptible to influenza.” True.
In New York City, the virus is transmitted from person to person more easily, Dr. Salvatore said, because of population density and shared public space. “New Yorkers always think they’re tough and there is nothing that can keep New Yorkers home from work or school. But we’re always using public transportation and going to the gym — places where we’re in close contact with people who are sick.”
To that end, a word of advice from Dr. Miao if you are feeling sick:
“Please stay home for everyone’s sake.”
Here’s what else is happening:
In the News
• Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a budget plan aimed at countering President Trump’s tax changes, calling them an “economic missile” headed for New York. [New York Times]
• Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the city’s chief financial adviser, said that commercial bail bonds were too costly for defendants, many of whom are poor. [New York Times]
• Philip Dunton Murphy, a Democrat, was sworn in as the 56th governor of New Jersey. [New York Times]
• Lawyers in New York and across the country are urging DACA permit holders to take advantage of the opportunity and file their renewals while court decisions are pending. [New York Times]
• Governor Cuomo plans to set up geographic zones where drivers will pay fees to enter the most congested parts of the city. [New York Times]
• Andy Byford began his first day taking on an undoubtedly challenging role as New York City Transit chief in the most fitting way: by riding the subway. [New York Times]
• The author Naomi Wolf accused Yale University officials of blocking her from filing complaints against the famed literary critic and English professor who allegedly groped her. [New York Times]
• In “About New York,” the columnist Jim Dwyer tells us about a distraught man on the subway platform and how no emergency response from transit employees left the incident to fate. [New York Times]
• A preliminary survey found infectious parasitic eggs in playgrounds in the Bronx. Researchers aren’t yet sure what effect they could have on a child’s brain. [New York Times]
• Residents of Jackson Heights have been finding warmth by eating Himalayan momos from Amdo Kitchen and Potala. [New York Times]
• Businesses in New York have found a market in providing ex-suburbanites with the comforts of their pasts. [Crains New York]
• New York City created or preserved over 24,500 affordable apartments last year, a record-breaking figure. [CBS New York]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Penny for Your Thoughts”
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• Join the Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore, for a presentation on climate change and how New Yorkers can help fight it, at the Queens Botanical Garden. 6 p.m. [Free, registration required]
• The Astana Ballet Theater, Kazakhstan’s national ballet company, performs as part of a showcase of Kazakhstan culture, at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. 7 p.m. [Free]
• “Ded Talks,” a comedic lecture series “highlighting the life and ideas of your favorite dearly departed celebrities,” at Caveat on the Lower East Side. 7:30 p.m. [$10]
• Nets host Spurs, 7:30 p.m. (YES). Knicks at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (MSG).
• Alternate-side parking is suspended for snow operations.
• For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.
The Women’s March returns on Jan. 20, one year into President Trump’s term.
While demonstrators flocked to Washington for what was called a counterinauguration in 2017, in New York City more than 750,000 people flooded Fifth Avenue and nearby streets. Around the country, marchers took to the streets of cities and towns, amplifying a conversation on reproductive rights, immigration and civil rights, among other topics.
For those of you planning to participate this weekend, we ask: What are you marching for this year? And what will your sign say?
Let us know by posting in the comments or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, including your full name, age and the borough or city in which you live. We may contact you for possible inclusion in a New York Today column.
If you’re taking your children or students, we’d love to hear from them, too.
New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here.
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