The flu season has reached epidemic levels and has yet to reach its peak,
despite a drop-off in cases in some states.
Nationwide, nearly four dozen children, about half of them under the age of
five, have already died this flu season, which began in November and typically
runs into March. New York City doctors, hospitals and pharmacists report
quickly rising numbers of flu
cases, particularly among children and the city
has asked doctors to prioritize vaccines for those with the highest
That means the
elderly, people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and
children, particularly those under two years of age.
Doctors are calling this the most intense flu season for children since the
Kong flu of 1968-69. New York City
is reporting widespread
activity and the number of reported flu-like illnesses, such as pneumonia,
continues to rise, as do deaths from these
People with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes, from which many
New York City children suffer, are at increased risk for complications from
the flu. Children with the flu are also at particular risk for ear and sinus
infections; it's the bacterial illnesses that can lead to hospitalization
and death, although death from influenza is rare for children, an average of
92 annually. This season is
worse than usual because two of the three strains currently spreading are
particularly harsh, and A/Fujian, one of the more virulent strains, was not
included in this year's vaccine.
Fujian has the strongest link to severe illness and deaths of children and
ABUSE CHARGED AT THE EDWIN GOULD ACADEMY
Six current and former students of the Edwin Gould Academy in Rockland
County have filed a civil
suit against the school, charging that the staff
beat them and slammed them into walls, broke bones, smoked marijuana in
front of them and came to work intoxicated. At least
one teen was being injected with Thorazine, an anti-psychosis drug, without
parental consent or knowledge, says the suit.
The residential school for troubled, abandoned and abused children, located
in Spring Valley, is publicly funded as a special school district of the
state. It educates up to 200 children ages 12 to 20, most of whom are from
New York City. The school's mission is to provide a safe environment in
which children can get an education and a new start. The lawsuit was
in December in the State Supreme Court in the Bronx; the students in the
suit reside in Brooklyn.
The suit asks unspecified damages.
The school's superintendent said that state officials had investigated abuse
allegations and that some of the named staffers had been fired.
CITY COUNCIL PASSES LEAD PAINT BILL
The New York City Council passed a controversial lead paint bill that makes
landlords responsible for lead paint and requires them to remove under a
stringent schedule.While many in health and social services are in favor
of the bill, others are opposed, including non-profit housing developers.
They say lead
paint is only one of many problems in the housing stock and this bill be result
in the reduction of housing renovation in low and
The mayor vetoed the bill on
December 20, saying that it could actually harm families with children because
landlords will be reluctant to rent apartments
to families with small
children. The City
Council is expected to override his veto.
Sasha Nyary, formerly on
the staff of Life Magazine, edits the newsletter of The
Fifth Avenue Committee,
a community-based organization.
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