"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. Businesses "legally have to provide sick leave", she said. Over the past 14 years, between zero and eight such deaths are reported to the city's health department each flu season.
Among the most vulnerable patients during flu season are senior citizens, children and those with chronic medical conditions. About 6.5 percent of emergency room visits since October can be attributed to the flu - the highest number in four years.
Though only offering an approximately 30 percent efficacy rate, getting vaccinated remains the most effective way of preventing the flu. Last season, 106 children around the country died from the flu; six of those deaths were in New York City. The CDC lists the following as warning signs of flu in children. In a press conference, NY officials said they did not yet have information on adult flu-related deaths.
"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.
According to the website, if residents work more than 80 hours a year for an employer that has five or more employees, they can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave each year.
Bassett said that people who are sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms should stay home, noting they are likely covered by sick leave as required by the city's Paid Sick Leave Act.