Health commissioner Mary Bassett warned New Yorkers to get the flu shot if they haven't already as the city weathers a particularly brutal flu season - with 6.5% of ER and outpatient clinic visits caused by the flu.
NY is experiencing its worst flu season in 10 years and saw a 50 percent increase in confirmed flu cases and a 21 percent jump in hospitalizations over the past week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week.
"As a parent you're a moron if you don't take your kid to get a flu shot - putting your kids and other classmates at risk", said Vanessa Gomez, 34, a stay-at-home mom who lives in the building. "It's heartbreaking that parents have lost young children to the flu, my heart goes out to those families", said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Her's is the second pediatric, flu-related death of the season, the city said Monday.
Flu season runs from October through May, but Bassett says there has been an early surge this year. It can prevent the flu or lessen the symptoms. About 6.5 percent of emergency room visits since October can be attributed to the flu - the highest number in four years. "That's not zero. What is a zero percent protection is not getting the vaccine", said Bassett.
Last flu season, six flu-related pediatric deaths were reported in New York City, among 106 nationwide.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to combat the flu epidemic, allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18.
"For more information about where to get vaccinated, New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/flu, or text "flu" to 877877".
"New Yorkers don't have to choose between their paycheck and caring for themselves or their loved ones if they have the flu - they have the right to sick leave", said Salas.
Officials also urged New Yorkers to stay home if they're sick, citing the paid sick days law, which requires employers to give up to five paid days off a year.
Employers are also mandated to carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave from the previous calendar year.