Gotham Gazette

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Staten Islanders’ Compassion Must Come Through for Our Communities Again

si cm rose

Council Member Rose, back left, is the author (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

We Staten Islanders pride ourselves on being a borough that cares for our own, often railing against the “forgotten borough syndrome” and always taking on the powers that be seeking our fair share. 

During the early days of the pandemic, we begged, pleaded, and fought to get PPE for residents, family, friends, first responders, and essential workers to protect them from the scourge of COVID-19 — the highly contagious and deadly disease that has ravaged our city.

Back in the early days of the pandemic people were on ventilators and there weren’t enough to go around. We didn’t really know how to treat COVID-19 and were ill-equipped to address the devastating number of cases. Heck, we weren’t even sure if masks and hand-sanitizer were an adequate defense.

Funeral homes were overwhelmed by the number of deceased people, so much so that they had to send our loved ones to the Brooklyn Army Terminal or rent refrigerated trucks to hold our precious departed until they could be given a proper burial or cremation. 

Remember how it felt to not be able to see our loved ones even for brief visits, missing grandma and grandpa, grandchildren, boyfriends, girlfriends, cousins, friends, and more. Remember what it was like to miss celebrations, weddings, birthdays, graduations, proms, religious celebrations and church services, sporting events, and even just going to the store or having lunch with a friend. Maybe some of you even missed going to work in an office or other job site. 

And what parent doesn’t remember the horrors of remote learning!

If none of this impacted you and your sensibilities, the scarcity of toilet paper and Lysol certainly elevated your fear and anxiety level. 

To remember the worst of our pandemic experiences should arouse us to take the necessary action to eradicate this disease and live our lives. Taking the covid vaccine moves us closer to that possibility. 

City health officials said recently that in all of New York City, the one place where you’re most likely to catch COVID-19 is Staten Island. We must not accept that as the status quo.

Getting vaccinated is not a political issue nor is it one of government overreach. It is about health and safety — for you, for your loved ones, for your communities, for our borough, and for our city.

COVID-19 merely poses another challenge, and we on Staten Island are very used to overcoming challenges. Our resilience in the face of challenge motivated us to unselfishly put our personal feelings aside and help our friends, family, and neighbors in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All of us came together for the greater good of others then, and I’m asking now that you view getting vaccinated through that same lens of unselfish caring for others.

Please get vaccinated!

Deborah Rose is the New York City Council Member, District 49, representing parts of Staten Island. On Twitter @CMDebiRose.

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