News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
 BREAKING NEWS 
 POLICE & FIRE 
 IN MEMORIAM  
 HOMETOWN PEOPLE 
 COLUMNS 
 EDITORIALS 
 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

 EMPLOYMENT  
 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT  
 REAL ESTATE  
 AUTOMOTIVE  
 REMEMBRANCE  
 GOODS & SERVICES

sternberg

C-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Important, Columnist Says

BULLETIN

C-19 Vaccine Breakthrough

Important, Columnist Says

Sternberg
Sternberg

A story reported out by Reuters News Agency yesterday shows very promising results in the study of one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, AllOTSEGO’s COVID columnist, Dr. Richard Sternberg, reports today.

The vaccine being developed by Oxford University and British Drug maker AstraZenica shows that it produces an immune response, i.e., development of antibodies to the virus, in both the young and the old. This is seen as a very favorable breakthrough in the development of vaccines.

STERNBERG: Mandatory Masks Downtown Only? Why Not Everywhere?

LIFE IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS

Mandatory Masks Downtown

Only? Why Not Everywhere?

By RICHARD STERNBERG • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The below is a letter I received (along with the rest of the Cooperstown Village Board) from a constituent and my response.

To the Members of the Village Board:

Sternberg
Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

As you deliberate on proposed Local Law 7, we respectfully request you discuss the following points so your intent and purpose is clearly understood by all
concerned.

If the purpose of this proposal is “to protect the public health, safety and welfare of Village residents,” why is it limited to only a portion of two streets? Even a casual observer can see there is relatively little activity on Main Street these days.

Currently the most congested areas of the village are on Fish Road and the block of Fair Street near the boat launch.

There is also considerable foot traffic on the northernmost block of Pioneer Street, where only one side of the street has a sidewalk which is much narrower than Main Street.

Moreover, there is very little mask-wearing and social-distancing in Lakefront Park and the walkway connecting Pioneer Street and Fish Road does not allow for distancing.

In other areas of the village there is a great deal of activity near the hospital and clinic; the grocery store and pharmacy; the gas stations and other commercial areas. Why are they not included?

With respect to enforcement, the Board should seriously reconsider the maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense. … Do you have the personnel and expertise to enforce this one?

During the current pandemic, the wearing of a mask or face covering is a sensible thing to do. Government regulations should be sensible as well.

Thank you for your consideration.

Here is my response:

Your point is well taken about the law being extended to all other areas in the village, just like it is everywhere in Key West and other municipalities.

I would have never thought that this could be passed, especially since there are areas in the village with very low concentrations of pedestrians with easy ability to social distance. But with your help and support, this could happen. Thank you for support of this idea. I will present it.

By the way, I don’t know when you are on Main Street, but there is a high percentage of people not wearing masks, AND NOT PUTTING THEM ON WHEN PASSING OR NEAR OTHER PEOPLE.

In fact, these people aren’t carrying masks and if they have masks, they are not visible. In a pocket or purse, they cannot quickly be whipped on. I wouldn’t dare walk Main Street.
By the way, there are already laws in place to punish lack of a mask if not socially-distancing or not wearing one indoors at a public place, under the governor’s state of emergency. These should be enforced.

As you point out, the Village is putting in place a maximum penalty of $1,000. As you know, the individual’s penalty is imposed set by the presiding judge and at $1,000 is half of the state maximum penalty of $2,000 for violating similar laws.

I would think that maybe the initial fine for someone would be on the order of $100, as it is in Key West, and would escalate with repeat or recalcitrant offenders.

I agree that more citations should be given for other offenses. Once the public was aware of this, their behavior would change.

It doesn’t take many for a village with as good a communication system as Cooperstown has for word to get out. There are also other laws that violating could cause death, like speeding, driving while intoxicated, and not stopping at STOP signs or red lights.

During a pandemic wearing a mask IS the sensible thing to do. If only everyone did when in the presence of other members of the public, we would have this thing beat in eight weeks, according to the head of the CDC.

Please read the article in the latest Weekend Wall Street Journal, page C1, “The True Face of Freedom Wears a Mask.” Unfortunately, there are, to use a word favored by my family, ice holes, who don’t give a darn about your life and mine, and both of us are high-risk individuals.

Even the Republican President of the United States requires everyone around him to wear masks and get tested daily, albeit to protect himself. Wearing a mask is not just sensible it is a life and death issue.

COLUMN: If Numbers Keep Rising In Mohawk Valley Region, County May Be Re-Closed

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

If Numbers Keep Rising

In Mohawk Valley Region,

County May Be Re-Closed

By RICHARD STERNBERG • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

At his news conference today, Governor Cuomo made public the result of the latest antibody testing story for all of New York State. The numbers don’t look good for the Mohawk Valley region (which includes Otsego County), and the governor made a brief comment to that effect.

The antibody testing indicates that somebody’s had the disease.

The Mohawk Valley had the largest percentage gain of patients who took the test that turned up positive. Previous tests showed 2.7 percent positive; we now have 5.5 percent positive. This is a gain of 2.8 percent or more than twice the rate previously. This puts us in the top four regions in the state in terms of percentage positive.

Only New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley have higher numbers   We also have the second largest increase in percentage with a gain of 2.8 percent for a relative gain from our previous one of over 100 percent. Only the North Country had a higher relative percent increase and it started out at about half our rate.

STERNBERG: What’s All This Testing About?

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

What’s All This

Testing About?

By RICHARD STERNBERG • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

At his Sunday, April 19, press conference, Governor Cuomo reported his 22-year-old daughter had asked him, “What’s all this testing about?” He seemed to be a little surprised by the question.

He said he thought he was explaining this well during his previous press conferences but realized he had not been getting his points across to everybody. He went over this again.

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

I will try to explain the different types of tests, roughly how they work, what their purposes are, and how they help us make decisions about what to do next.

Up until recently, Governor Cuomo has primarily been talking about the test to determine who actively had the novel coronavirus. He has also been talking about obtaining the testing equipment and getting the chemicals necessary to do the tests.

On Sunday, though, he was also talking about a different test, an antibody test which would tell us who is immune to the virus, and he explained how this is going to be rolled out in New York State, with 3,000 random samples to be taken over the next week or so.

These tests look for two very different things.

One, the test that has been primarily talked about for weeks looks to see who actively has the virus.

Theoretically, once a person recovers, or if he or she has not been symptomatic once the body clears the virus, this test comes back negative.

This test can only show who has COVID-19 and thus is currently infectious, but it can’t tell you anything about whether a person had COVID-19 and is now relatively immune.

This test looks specifically for RNA, the genetic material of the coronavirus. Different manufacturers make this type of test. While the different companies’ tests are slightly different, they basically all work the same way.

The best simple but complete explanation may be obtained by Googling “here’s how coronavirus test works.”

Two, more recently, a test has been developed that looks for people who have had the disease. This distinction is important.

The best way we are going to safely open up the economy is to know what percentage of the population has recovered from the disease and is now relatively immune – and where possible, specifically who is immune.

These people could now return to normal activities and safely go back to work.

This test works by looking for antibodies to the virus in a person’s blood.

An antibody is a large protein produced mainly by a type of white blood cell. It is used by the defensive or immune system of the body to neutralize bacteria and viruses.

To make informed decisions, we should know who has the disease, who had the disease, who never had the disease, and what proportion of the population each group makes up.

While it may not seem intuitive, using the science of statistics, it can be determined by doing random testing of a small but significant number of people in a population what these numbers probably are.

The bigger the proportion of a population that is tested, the more highly confident we can be in the percentages determined and the more accurate are our predictions.

Without good testing we are not going to have any idea what the actual infection rate is and how quickly immunity is accumulating in the population. Once we know all this good, safe, informed decisions can be made on how to proceed with getting back toward normal.

 

If you would like me to go over this and other related topics please contact me through the Freeman’s Journal.

 

STERNBERG: A Pearl Harbor Moment, Plus

LIFE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

A Pearl Harbor

Moment, Plus

By RICHARD STERNBERG • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Two weeks ago, Surgeon General Jerome Adams made comments that last week would be a Pearl Harbor moment in the battle against COVID-19. Others picked up on the statement. I believe the President used that phrase at one point in a press conference. Others are calling this a 9/11 moment.

Richard Sternberg, a retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, has agreed to provide his professional perspective while the coronavirus threat continues. Dr. Sternberg, who is also a village trustee, resides in Cooperstown.

This is nothing of the sort and is probably an insult to Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, was a highly dishonorable way of declaring war against the United States by the Imperial Japanese Empire; 2,403 people died in it, mostly sailors, but also soldiers and marines, and some civilians.

On 9/11, 2,977 people, mostly American citizens, including 343 members of the New York City Fire Department, 71 metropolitan area law enforcement officers, one officer in Pennsylvania, and 55 military personnel were murdered.

Those who have died of what has been deemed to be 9/11-induced illnesses is probably greater than 3,000 considering first responders, clean-up crews and people who lived in the area. Let’s say 6,000 fatalities in total.

As of April 12, 2020, 20,488 people, up approximately 2,000 from the day before, have died of documented COVID-19 in the U.S., which is more than twice the combination of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 together.

There have been additional deaths well above the statistical averages not listed as COVID-19 but which highly probably are. Documented new deaths per day from COVID-19 are fast approaching the total at Pearl Harbor.arbor.Harbor.

The rate of the increase of deaths in New York State has leveled off but the rate of increase elsewhere in the U.S continues to rise.

Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are singular moments in the history of the United States and of the heroism of its military and municipal services. They were moments of national resolve but they were moments.

COVID-19 is a relentless killer that will continue worldwide unless a way to either cure it or prevent it is found. It wears us down.

The worldwide death toll could easily exceed millions unless vigilance is maintained. While it is an infectious disease on an individual basis, on a global level it is like a cancer, metastasizing everywhere and overwhelming the host, that is the population of the entire world.

Trivializing it as a moment, however monumental that moment is, does not prepare people for the continued fight ahead and gives them the false sense that if only we make it past one specific day everything will be well.

As terrible as Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were, the surgeon general using that analogy does disservice to those events and actually gives a false sense of security that the pandemic is less devastating than it is and it is abating.

Unopposed, Katz Wins Third Term As Mayor

Unopposed, Katz Wins

Third Term As Mayor

Also Unchallenged, Maxson, Sternberg Affirmed

County Democratic Chair Richard Abbate, right, congratulates Mayor Jeff Katz who, unopposed, won a third term as Cooperstown mayor in today's pollling. Katz received 105 votes, Maxson 103 and Sternberg 101.
County Democratic Chair Richard Abbate, right, congratulates Mayor Jeff Katz who, unopposed, won a third term as Cooperstown mayor in today’s polling.   Behind Katz are Trustees Bruce Maxson, right, the county’s public defender; and Richard Sternberg, left, a recently retired Bassett surgeon.  Katz, a baseball writer, received 105 votes, Maxson 103 and Sternberg 101.  Village Clerk Teri Barown said the turnout was about the same as two years ago, the last time Katz ran, also unopposed.  Abbate hosted a reception for the candidates at his home after the polls closed.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Sternberg Takes Oath As Trustee, Joins Cooperstown Village Board

Sternberg Takes Oath As Trustee,

Joins Cooperstown Village Board

Dr. Richard Sternberg, the recently retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic physician, takes the oath of office this evening and joined the Cooperstown Village Board. He was appointed by Mayor Jeff Katz to fill the vacancy left by Joan Nicols resignation; he will have to run for a full term in March. Village Clerk Teri Barown administers the oath. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Dr. Richard Sternberg, the recently retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic physician, takes the oath of office this evening and joined the Cooperstown Village Board. He was appointed by Mayor Jeff Katz to fill the vacancy left by Joan Nicols’ resignation; he will have to run for a full term in March. Village Clerk Teri Barown administers the oath. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Katz To Name Retired Doctor To Vacant Village Board Seat

Katz To Name Retired Doctor

To Vacant Village Board Seat

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg

COOPERSTOWN  – Mayor Jeff Katz said this morning he plans to name Richard Sternberg, the recently retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic physician, to the Village Board vacancy created by the resignation of Joan Nicols.

Rich currently serves on the Village of Cooperstown Planning Board and  ran for Town of Otsego Town Board in November.  “His strong showing within the village was important to me as I thought about who to pick for Joan’s spot,” said the mayor.

He plans to swear in Sternberg at the start of the trustees’ December meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. Click here to review the questionnaire Sternberg responded to when running for town board.

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103