Hundreds of people gather on the lawn at Thompson Park for the annual July Fourth concert in July 2018. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The Fourth of July Concert in the Park is among some of the city’s most popular and attended events that are being canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Erin E. Gardner, the city’s parks and recreation superintendent, said she got a call from the Orchestra of Northern New York on Friday morning about the July Fourth celebration that’s held in Thompson Park.

With between 7,000 and 8,000 people attending the event every year, it’s not known whether the pandemic will be over in July, she said.

“It just makes sense,” she said.

The orchestra’s board unanimously agreed to cancel all of the Orchestra of Northern New York’s summer concert series, she said.

The city’s block parties scheduled for June and July and the Dairy Parade have also been canceled because of the virus.

“The Dairy Parade will have to wait until next year,” said Jay Matteson, Jefferson County Agriculture Coordinator. “It makes me feel horrible.”

He said he couldn’t justify planning the parade when he’s focused so much on helping dairy and livestock farms that are trying to get through the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.

The Watertown Local Development Corp., also known as the Watertown Trust, holds three block parties on the north side of Public Square during the summer.

But the June and July parties will not go on, said former City Councilman Cody J. Horbacz, who helps organize the events. The August block party might still be held, depending on what happens with the state’s directives for large gatherings.

He said the planning, obtaining corporate sponsors and other work can’t be done without knowing whether the pandemic will continue into the summer months.

“Right now, it’s too difficult to plan,” he said.

The fate of the Armed Forces Parade will be known on Tuesday when organizers meet to discuss whether it should be held this year.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(37) comments


Holmes, the real one. I would give the residents a little more credit, and the officials a little more scrutiny.

Holmes -- the real one

Ever seen this?


Holmes -- the real one

Remember this:

Donald Trump Shared a Hilarious Story About Not Wanting to Help a Dying Man

"He was right in front of me, and I turned away. I didn’t want to touch him."



Holmes, I agree with you, it was inhumane action on Trumps part.....he did not lift a finger, nothing. The Marines did, they carried the man off to be cared for, heroic to the end.


We have almost 8,000 New Yorkers dead from COVID-19. We also still don't have an accurate count of those infected. Until we do, we still need to take every possible precaution. I will miss the concert and possibly the fair, going to the beach, or pool, and other activities if it means saving one life.

Holmes -- the real one

progressivextian --

Thumbs up.

This is what doing what is right is all about.

Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Put your own life on the line for others.


We have had more than that number of flu deaths last year...............there was no general panic. Again, any death is a tragedy, but the restraints you admire are (every possible precaution) are insane. Destroying an economy, the lives of millions over a few deaths is not proportionate for a response. A government that does not trust it's citizens can wear a mask and sit 6 feet from non-family members becomes tyrannical after a point. Quarantine the ill, we did it for tuberculosis in the 30s and 40s., practice good hygiene, dont spit in the street. Think. Someone needs to milk the cows, pick the spinach, attend to the stores, fix cars etc., the abstract concept of shutting down is absurd. One step further, we could wrap everyone in bubble wrap and feed them by chloroxed tubes. The idea of spending whatever it takes to prevent a death is absurd, not followed for any other cause of death.......think gun control, we could take every gun away from folks, and only trample a few rights. The people who are clamoring for continued shut down will be vilified in time for being reactionary Luddites. .

keyser soze

“…Last year's flu killed @ 80,000 per CDC, and the band played on!”

“…We have had more than that number of flu deaths last year”


Where did you pull that number out of ? Never mind, I think we already know. By the way, with a R0 factor of at least 2.5 and a mortality rate, at minimum of 1%, this is NOT the traditional flu!!

The only thing “absurd” here is your profound lack of understanding of the nature of what it is we are dealing with.


As far as the band playing on:



Your numbers are unsupported by fact.


Flu deaths last year, reported by Dr.Robert Redfield, US CDC 4/8/20, 80,000 deaths,

sorry keyser soxze, but the number has been confirmed.

keyser soze

"sorry keyser soxze, but the number has been confirmed."

And yet no citation or link.

Sorry MD but it appears as though you are incorrect. You specifically stated ‘last years’ total deaths as being 80,000. Perhaps you are referring to a different year?

The official numbers I provided came directly from the CDC and are up to date as clearly evidenced by the provided source: 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates: 24,000-62,000. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/preliminary-in-season-estimates.htm

If you have something different then by all means provide it. If I’m mistaken, then so be it.

But more importantly, you continue to fail to realize the magnitude and scope of this disease as demonstrated by your meandering metaphors.

Anyone advising for the ending of widespread social distancing at this time fails to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that.

COVID-19 would spread widely and rapidly, resulting in the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands if not millions in the year ahead with far worse social and economic impacts across the country then we are currently experiencing. It would undoubtedly make the worse flu season look mild by comparison.

Before considering changes to social distancing measures, we should be using all of our energy and resources to get to the strongest possible position for a sensible COVID-19 response. To start, we need rapid diagnostics and contact tracing on a massive scale in place. We are not ready…rather, we are behind. Way behind.

The grim reality we all face is to swallow the pain now or deal with unimaginable and far worse pain and suffering later. Either way it’s a losing proposition. It really depends on in what way, and how much, we as a nation are willing to sacrifice.

Why you are incapable of understanding that is beyond rational thought.


Your reading comprehension needs work , Soze. I specifically mentioned last years totals, yet you mock me by quoting this years, as of yet, incomplete totals. Please. You want a source, Google my source and date, no biggie. Then you move on to suggesting I am not a fan of social distancing. I am, to a degree. My aurgument is the pain we endure from a continued arbitrary lock down is not worth the effort, period. After May 1, i would suggest the vulnerable lock down, and others practice best practices, but go to work to produce the food, and products we need t pull through this. You talk of gloom and doom, that is not the reality. More to the point, there is hardly any mention of the US death rate exceeding the norm of 2,500, 000 people per year. You are pulling false facts from who knows where.


You are referring to this years estimate, I stated last year.

keyser soze

Ahh ha…

So that’s what I get for playing nice?

Pure gibberish MD!!

Here is what you wrote: “Flu deaths last year, reported by Dr.Robert Redfield, US CDC 4/8/20, 80,000 deaths”

If anything you are the one sorely lacking in comprehension skills and then some.

Sorry to have to be the one to break it to you this way but we are in calendar year 2019/2020. And no matter how hard you try to slice and dice it, last year totals are unambiguous: 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates: 24,000-62,000.


Your feeble response to my verifiable source was entirely predictable – YOU GOT NOTHING!! And unlike you, I was more than willing to accept a certifiable correction. And unlike me YOU conveniently make things up.

Even more curious MD is the previous year’s statistics for 2018/2019:

“….DC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season. This burden was similar to estimated burden during the 2012–2013 influenza season.”

Did you catch that MD? Here, allow me to spell it out for you… THIRTY-FOUR THOUSAND & TWO-HUNDRED.


And yet, YOU wrote: “…I specifically mentioned last years totals” So please tell us MD, what it is exactly you are talking about?

Tsk… tsk…

And where in the world did you get that I came up with the figure 2,500,000 from? Are you on the right site? Better yet, are you residing on planet Earth?

Your nonsensical babbling of my “gloom and doom reality” or whatever it is you are sputtering on about might be better applied to your failure to grasp objective reality, and plain old fashioned FACTS.

The idea that by fact checking your mindless drivel is somehow an attempt to “mock you” speaks more to your personal insecurities and hollow refutation.

Surely, you can do better than this.

Get a grip MD and fasten your seat-belt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

How’s that for mocking?

Best of luck, and stay safe.

p.s. I have a couple of extra calendars laying around. Let me know.


Some folks, when they are wrong, just yell louder!


2019-2020 is this year, stats are an estimate, year is not over yet. 2018-2019 is last year. You argue like a Russian bot.

keyser soze

Hilarious MD!!

As a expected, a pathetically weak response, but funny nonetheless.

You argue like someone who lacks a functional brain.

Some folks who are unable to substantiate their false claims when called out deflect and double down on their B.S. while projecting their unsuccessful actions onto others.

It’s kind of like being a TurdDucken without the ‘ucken.

Gee, that was easy.

Step it up.


Maybe you can think of it as a general strike.


So let's say flu deaths last year without social distancing to defeat the flu were comparable to the projected coronavirus deaths this year WITH a social distancing. You are comparing apples to oranges. The real comparison is 80000 flu deaths to 8 million coronavirus deaths if measures are not taken. Because everybody would get it and the casualty rate would be higher because the hospitals would be swamped.



Holmes -- the real one

Ah, fake and phony "Holmes,"

Why are we not surprised by this response?


Last year's flu killed @ 80,000 per CDC, and the band played on!


Too bad they didn't get their flu shot.


That was with no precautions and no shut down. Coronavirus would be far more without a shut down. It's far more contagious and deadly. One percent casualty rate in a non swamped hospital, far higher if the hospitals are swamped as they would be if it were left unchecked. So many millions.

Holmes -- the real one

Ignorance is Strength!


And supporting an extended shutdown is playing into ignorance.

Holmes -- the real one

Please explain why you think so.


I'll explain my rationale, some disagree. Every Insurance actuary tends to value a human life at $2.5 million dollars, while US EPA life value savings is flagged at $9 million dollars per life. On a cost benefit scale, I presume 7 million per life saved, or $100,000 per life year saved. Per life year saved accounts for saving young people vice older people. Then there is the "so what" factor, do we really care if 30,000 people a year die from guns (we care , but we care to take no action) , or, do we care if 80,000 people die from flu (again, we care, but only to the amount of action we are taking now.) On August 10, 2003, a gentleman proposed committing suicide by jumping off the Wilson bridge near DC, at seven in the morning. 350,000 people use that bridge in the rush hour morning commute. Police blocked the route and tried to talk the man down, the route was blocked for five hours, the man eventually dove to his death. Our humanity allowed this fellow to suspend, ruin, and waste 1,400,000 man hours of time, or about 2.4 lifetimes. A cost effective use of human life hours would have been to shoot the fellow off his perch after about an hour, thus having him waste the rest of his life, 150,000 hrs, and 350,000 hours of the commuters time. That did not happen, as a kind society we let this drag out to a far less cost effective outcome. But, equating this to a virus intake, are we willing to wait on the bridge for months, and having our livelihoods crushed, our homes lost, our children starve? No, someone would have shot the fellow long before that occurred. There is rational thought to prevent loss of lives, there is also a rational expenditure associated. Again, any loss of life is a tragedy, but no one should be sent to ruination when rational thought and preventative measures can be employed to MINIMIZE death. If you think otherwise, may I watch as you sign your deed over to Uncle Sam?


Dear soze, I said last year, you are giving estimates for this year

Holmes -- the real one

Good morning, MD. I'm replying to your explaining your rationale post.

Thank you, it was helpful to me in order to find some understanding of your reasoning.

Now, if you'll excuse my curiosity, I'm wondering just how you came to hold this position. Was this generally the way your parents thought? Or was it a viewpoint that evolved over time? Where did you first find others who thought that way?


US Military. US Insurance Insustry Life value. US EPA. Cost benefit, lives valuation. Again, any life lost is a tradedy, but there has to be a rational valuation to make a rational policy or decision.


Holmes, my reply seems to have not been accepted, so I will try again. Again, any loss of life is a tragedy, but, If you are in charge of public policy regarding health and safety, there are many sources as to how to value man years or man lives saved or expended. For example, most engineers are familiar with the concept in road design and the cost of safety equipment or straightening a dangerous curb. They think in terms of lives saved vice cost of the equipment or safety construction. NYS DOT uses this calculus on a daily basis in road design, improvement etc.. Most recently in the replacement of metal rope safety barricades on the edge of bridges and steep slopes. It was decided, after a lawsuit where a young lady lost her life after hitting a like barricade, to NOT replace all of the rope barricades in the state. Nort cost effective per life loss. They will be replaced on a ad-hoc basis as they wear out. Public health officials use the same metrics, is the cost worth it in lives saved? Whats the value of a life? A number is chosen, at the EPA it is $9.5 million. The regulated industries have argued that a life is worth $1 million, so they have to spend far less money to cope with environmental impact. The military always uses a dollar metric, without exception. Public policy officials, do the same. Which brings us to CDC and the FDA. Their values of a life saved or lost are not always consisteant but range in the 2 to $5 million per life area. You can ask the Head of the CDC , Dr Redfield, the dollar amount he places on a life saved and he will not, never, give you a direct answer because those with less sensibilities will swoon at the thought a value can be placed on a life. Everfy advanced program for the education of those fields has life valuation studies, every advanced tesing has a question regarding valuation. If you respond with "you can not place a value on a life"., you fail.

Holmes -- the real one

I got your 2 replies and, I guess I should admit to you, I'm very familiar with all of that including the actuarial principles and methods involved.

What I was asking though, was more at how you personally came to think that way - such that you would readily apply that thinking to dealing with a suicide on a bridge.

After all, although decisions facing city planners routinely consider this sort of stuff, it's pretty rare for a person to hold these kinds of principles as guideposts for their individual daily life.

So I was wondering whether this kind of thinking was prevalent in your growing-up household or whether say, after a stint in the military, you began to consider issues in this manner because your job there employed this sort of reasoning.

Holmes -- the real one

MD -- I should add that somehow this comment system didn't allow me to reply directly to you, hence the attachment to my own previous comment.


Holmes, I worked as a policy analyst for years, and then as a private epidemiologist for a research company for a couple of years. Most of my graduate studies included a section on cost benefit analysis that required one to consider values associated with catastrophic failures or economic benefits.


The bridge suicide was not a belief, but a way of describing cost benefit to a fellow who (I thought) did not understand actuarial principles. The story, while true, is a great analogy for the value of human life, cruel as it may seem. But, my point with the current WDT story is , people are reacting in uninformed panic. I would trust the public to wear masks, stay in if they are ill, stay in if they are suseptlble, and properly space. A certain few will ignore you, but most will do fine. Perfection is the enemy of pretty darned good. Have your concert in the Park.

Holmes -- the real one

MD ---

".... I worked as a policy analyst for years, and then as a private epidemiologist for a research company for a couple of years... "

Thanks for that. I was suspecting as much.

My biggest problem with issues like the Concert in the Park scenario is simply that it is easy to underestimate the sheer and rebellious stupidity of a segment of the residents up here.

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