Sept. 28, 2021 -- When the coronavirus pandemic locked down the nation’s largest city in the spring of 2020, New Yorkers flocked to their windows to bang their pots and pans and yell their thanks to health care workers and first responders for saving a city ravaged by COVID-19.

But as the pandemic wore on, and many succumbed to crisis fatigue, the whoops and hollers for the health care workers slowed, replaced by the usual noise of honking cars and chatty pedestrians. But 18 months later, some of the faithful are still saluting these heroes, writes Darcie Wilder in this Gawker piece.

This nightly ritual has continued in neighborhoods throughout the city, including nightly renditions of “God Bless America” on the Upper West Side and noise-making minutes in Hell’s Kitchen, a New York City neighborhood that bore much of the brunt of the pandemic. This is also the neighborhood that saw the arrival of the USNS Comfort ship on the Hudson River and, months later, the opening of the Javits Center as a mass vaccination site for area residents.

“I think it’s lovely and heartwarming that they’re out there every night,” says Aleta LaFargue, an actor who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. “We’re not out of the storm, and people are still getting sick, so I think it’s really nice that there’s this gratitude and a reminder of what’s going on out there in the city and in the world.”

Module: video
photo of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine
How Do COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Work?Some of the COVID-19 vaccines are known as mRNA shots. How are they different from traditional vaccines? And do they contain the real virus?189

[MUSIC PLAYING]

SPEAKER: How does a COVID-19

mRNA vaccine work?

COVID vaccines are now

available.

Some of the COVID-19 vaccines

are mRNA vaccines, but what does

this mean?

mRNA vaccines are

different from traditional

vaccines.

mRNA vaccines don't expose you

to any real virus instead,

they're made with messenger

Ribonucleic Acid or mRNA.

This is a type of molecule that

gives instructions to the cell

for how to make different kinds

of proteins.



mRNA molecules are

a natural part of our cells

and how our bodies work.

Researchers have been working

with mRNA vaccines

for many years.

They are made more easily

and safely in a lab

than a vaccine that uses

a virus.

Because of this they can also

be made faster.

The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines

have passed many tests in labs

and in thousands of people,

and meet strict standards

from the FDA.



So how do these vaccines work?

First, a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

is injected into a muscle

in your upper arm.

Some muscle cells take the mRNA

instructions in the vaccine

and make a harmless piece

of a protein called

a spike protein.

This protein is found

on the outside of the SARS-CoV-2

virus that causes COVID-19.



The muscle cells then destroy

the instructions for how to make

the spike protein.

The mRNA never goes

into the nucleus of your cells

where your DNA is stored.

The newly made spike protein now

sits on the surface

of the muscle cells.



Your immune system senses

the spike protein

as a foreign threat to destroy,

it starts making antibodies

to fight anything

with that spike protein on it.

This will help your body's

immune system recognize

and fight the real virus if it

ever shows up.

It's like recognizing someone

by the hat they wear.

Your body is then

prepared to spot COVID-19

and fight it off before it grows

in your body's cells.



Fast facts to remember

about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

They help get your body

ready to fight off the COVID-19

virus before it makes you sick,

they don't use

any live, dead, or weak virus,

they can't give you COVID-19,

they don't affect your DNA.

Want to learn more,

go to cdc.gov to find more

information about mRNA vaccines.

You can also learn more about

how the vaccines were approved

at fda.gov.



[SWOOSH]



[MUSIC PLAYING]



From Krames/delivery/aws/e1/19/e1194689-aff0-4d9e-9fd2-2c0084642589/b37084c0-2e1f-4b66-958c-96e7a6c3f4db_krames_activating_health_how_mrna_vaccine_works_021021_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp402/10/2021 12:00:0018001200photo of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/1800x1200_krames_activating_health_how_mrna_vaccine_works_video.jpg091e9c5e8210a400

Ask Gail Saltz, MD, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the host of the “How Can I Help?" podcast from iHeartRadio, and a New Yorker herself. She says there’s something very positive about continuing this nightly tradition.

“If cheering helps you feel like you’re doing something positive in the face of a lot of helplessness in the pandemic, then yes, that’s healthy for your mind,” she says. “If cheering gives you a sense of gratitude for health care workers and other helpers, then that’s also healthy.”

It also feels good to follow through on a promise.

“For us in New York City, it’s this idea of, ‘OMG these essential workers, the hospitals are full, we won’t be able to repay them for what they did for us,’” says Phil O'Brien, editor and publisher of W42ST, a daily newsletter and website. “I admire those who have the special purpose to remember this when it would be so much easier to let life get in the way.”

Continuing to do a 7 p.m. shout-out might also be therapeutic, given anxiety-producing headlines and concerning COVID-19 numbers and stats.

“The pandemic is ongoing, so doing things that help you to feel less anxious, to boost your mood and to get support -- while maintaining safety -- is all still important,” Saltz says.

Ultimately, for many New Yorkers, the goal is the same: To never forget.

“It’s easy in our culture to experience some atrocity and then, a week later, we’re onto the next thing,” LaFargue says. “This ritual is banging you in the head to remind you that this [isn’t] over. There’s a value to that.”

WebMD Health News

Sources

Gawker: "My Building, I Shit You Not, Is Still Doing the 7 P.M. Cheer for Essential Workers"

Aleta LaFargue

Gail Saltz, MD, clinical associate professor, psychiatry, New York Presbyterian Hospital

Phil O'Brien, editor/ publisher W42ST

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