Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 10:21 pm est

Governor urges caution during flu crisis

Posted on January 28, 2013 | by Su Sie Park

NYU students returning to the city after winter break should brace themselves for a particularly brutal flu season in New York this winter.

This year, the New York State Department of Health confirmed 2,884 documented cases of the flu, compared to 1,169 in 2011.

Check out our tip sheet for a list of ways to prevent the flu and locations to get a free flu shot. 

In response to this year’s serious flu season, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency last Saturday in New York and issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to minors for the next 30 days.

“We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release. “Influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City.”

The executive order suspends a State Education Law which prohibited pharmacists from administering the vaccine to patients under 18 years old.

Peter Constantakes, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said researchers are still looking into the reasons why this year’s flu season seems to be particularly threatening. One reason may be that this flu season began earlier than usual.

“The flu season usually starts a little later and peaks around February,” Constantakes said. “A lot of times people would be vaccinated before it starts growing or when it just starts growing. This year I think it caught a lot of people off-guard.”

Constantakes said the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated, but he also advised simple preventative methods for college students such as washing hands frequently and being careful when sharing food.

This year’s flu emergency has even spurred the creation of a web app called Germ Tracker. Adam Sadilek, the app’s creator, explained how the app uses ‘geo-tagged’ statuses from social media websites to create a visual map that documents areas of New York City with a high concentration of those affected by the flu.

“As a result, we can track and predict the emergence of global disease epidemics from people’s day-to-day interactions,” Sadilek said. “For example, how would you count the number of sick people you have encountered yesterday? It’s hard. Germ Tracker allows you to do this by sifting through millions of tweets and showing you only the ones that are relevant to your health.”

A version of this article appeared on the Monday, Jan. 28 print edition. Su Sie Park is a contributing writer. Email her at


  • C

    Are face-masks sold in new york city? It’s so unhygienic that even the nyu health center does not have any. it’s hard for international students to not get sick because their immune systems are not use to the bacteria & dirt that makes most of new york. …the flu is threatening, especially when sick people walk around coughing on people, because face-masks don’t exist.

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.