Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

coronavirus

coronavirus

  • Uncurb Our Enthusiasm: How the City Can Better Help Restaurants and Keep New Yorkers Moving

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    Outdoor dining is proving successful (photo: @NYC_DOT)


    With the City’s popular Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs, the de Blasio administration has taken important steps forward to support New Yorkers during the pandemic, helping to ensure that people, not just cars, have much needed access to our streets. 

    Meanwhile, the success of these programs have been amplified by the continued growth of biking as a safe, socially distanced form of transportation, and by bikeshare’s ongoing expansion into the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. In New York City and elsewhere,

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  • Randomized Testing Would Best Assess Covid Spread, Epidemiologists Say, But New York Isn't Doing It

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    Coronavirus testing (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As coronavirus cases continue to spike across the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo has touted 38 days straight in New York with a statewide covid-positivity rate below 1 percent. The metrics hold center stage in conversations about reopening New York City's schools and dining rooms, two of the biggest and most uncertain next frontiers in the region's socioeconomic restart.

    "Testing is a cornerstone of our efforts to keep New Yorkers safe from COVID-19,” the governor said in a statement

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  • Our Chance to Get Queens, and the City, Working Again

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    The authors write about opportunity for Queens (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The last several months have taken a tremendous toll on our local economy. Over 20 percent of New York City residents were unemployed in June, a level not seen since the Great Depression. Thanks to our frontline heroes and the leadership of our elected officials, we’ve flattened the curve and New York is winning its battle against COVID-19. Now it’s time to get New Yorkers back to work.

    Through a community-centered process, with buy-in from local community

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  • As City Reopens, De Blasio’s ‘Better Buses’ Plan Stuck in Traffic

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    Mayor de Blasio on the bus (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Early in June, when New York City was just entering phase one of its economic “reopening” and the city still had daily triple-digit coronavirus death counts, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an ambitious plan, the Better Bus Restart Initiative, to add 20 more miles of bus lanes and five new busways by October, in addition to making the 14th Street busway permanent. While this plan, offered during a unique opportunity to rethink city street use, did not go as far as many public officials and advocates would

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  • Our School Situation is Dire: Congress Must Step Up to Save Lives and Children’s Futures

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    A student ready to learn during a pandemic (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    I’ve been scared for a long time now, but not like this. 

    My colleague, Sandra Santos-Vizcaino, was the first New York City teacher to lose her life to COVID-19. Today — Thursday, September 10 — I return to our same school without the confidence my district has the resources to provide the expensive equipment, testing, and contract

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  • After Big Dip, City Jail Population Creeps Back Up

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    Mayor de Blasio and top NYPD officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In mid-April, Mayor Bill de Blasio took a victory lap as the city’s daily jail population fell below 4,000 for the first time in nearly 75 years. It was a marked drop of almost 1,500 since the city went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, and was a result of several factors, including measures the mayor took to release hundreds of detainees whose health was at risk. But the jail population has slowly begun to increase, reaching 4,160 on September 1, as the

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Even After Delay, Will City Schools Be Ready to Reopen?

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    Mayor de Blasio & Chancellor Carranza visit a school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    September 2, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Even After Delay, Will City Schools Be Ready to Reopen?

    Asamia Diaby, an organizer with the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), joined the show to discuss concerns about the city's school reopening plans, remote and blended learning, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMax

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  • For Our Most Vulnerable Families, The City Must Delay In-Person School and Improve Remote Learning

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    The Mayor and Chancellor visit a school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Deciding if and how we reopen schools this fall has been incredibly difficult and complex for city leaders. Keeping students, teachers, and support staff safe is of paramount importance in any reopening plan — but access to the resources and support that in-person instruction provides is a lifeline for many students.

    Only a few weeks out from the first day of classes, it is clear our city is not equipped to safely bring 1.1 million students back to school. For

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  • The Schools Chancellor Must Step Up or Step Aside

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    Mayor de Blasio & Chancellor Carranza (photo: Mayor's Office)


    Unless there's an unexpected, immediate turnaround, New York City's public schools need new leadership.

    Poorly planned March closures, Spring and Summer distance learning failures, and overwhelmingly confused reopening plans for Fall are evidence of a system in near collapse and the cause of widespread parent and teacher despondency.

    This is not all Chancellor Richard Carranza's fault. He works for a Mayor who has been slow and stubborn throughout the city's pandemic response,

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  • Our Response to the Covid Crisis Shows Why Labor Unions are Essential

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    Union worker on the job during the coronavirus pandemic


    Those who work in the industry have always known it, but COVID-19 made it clear to the public: construction is essential.

    Through thick and thin, the unionized construction industry remains the vital sign of America. These workers erect critical infrastructure — from highways and airports to schools, government buildings, and health-care facilities. During times of crisis, these construction workers possess unique skills to quickly transform non-traditional spaces into critical care centers.

    In the midst of

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  • Telehealth is Helping New York Tackle Our Mental Health Crisis, But It Must Be Funded

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    Health care by video has increased in importance (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    When we first met Alice two years ago, she suffered from schizophrenia, depression, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Even though we set up pill boxes for her and arranged home health aides, she chose to seek treatment only in emergency rooms. Her health continued to deteriorate. 

    Last year, Alice finally began to engage in treatment for her diabetes by phone, but her nurse practitioner provided this treatment on her own time, without government funding. Alice’s

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  • A Wall Street Investor and an Unemployed Immigrant Cook Agree: Tax Billionaires, Support Excluded Workers

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    Gov. Cuomo at the New York Stock Exchange (photo: Don Pollard/governor's office)


    Income inequality in our state was a crisis before anyone had even heard of COVID-19, but five months into the pandemic, it is now a question of life or death for millions of New Yorkers.

    As two individuals sitting on opposite sides of that inequality divide, we are united in our demand to the State of New York: we must tax the rich, and we must do it right now.

    One of us, Morris Pearl, is a millionaire. I built my fortune on Wall Street, but I retired from that job after deciding

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  • $40 Billion in Unemployment Paid to 3.3 Million New Yorkers as Pandemic Devastates New York Workforce

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    New. Yorkers seeking help (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    As a new report indicates unemployment in New York City may be as high as 33%, the state’s labor commissioner testified at a Thursday legislative hearing that since early March, the New York Department of Labor (DOL) has paid almost $40 billion in unemployment benefits to more than 3.3 million New Yorkers, compared to $2.1 billion in all of 2019.

    The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout on the state’s workforce was the subject of an oversight hearing held by both houses of the State Legislature

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  • Lessons from How We Prevented COVID-19 from Ravaging Our Homeless Clients

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    Food distribution during the covid crisis (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    COVID-19 has taught us painful lessons about inadequate disaster preparedness and a vulnerable health-care ecosystem. In the midst of access obstacles, insufficient resources, and a limited federal response, a virus of moderate virulence and lethality has taken an appalling toll — over 140,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 including more than 700 health-care workers. Local providers and governments have had to scramble and improvise to manage the onslaught to prevent an even worse

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: New York City's Leadership Void, with Harry Siegel

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    August 12, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: New York City's Leadership Void, with Harry Siegel

    Harry Siegel, a Daily News columnist, Daily Beast editor, and co-host of the FAQNYC podcast, joined the show to discuss New York City's leadership void.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • Housing is Health, We Must Support It As Such — Especially Now

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    Health and housing are inextricably linked (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The nationwide protests over the past few months are a response to the tragic murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers -- and to the longstanding racial injustices plaguing our nation. Among these systemic crises is housing inequity and its impact on health.

    Millions of people nationwide lack stable housing due to extremely high rent, domestic issues such as living with an abuser, or various other causes. In New York specifically, hundreds

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  • No, Trump Can’t Postpone the Election, But Congress Needs to Fund It

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    Electors to the Electoral College voting in Albany (photo: governor's office)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the

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  • Two Plans Map Path Forward for Devastated New York City Economy

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    Getting New York City back to work (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    With COVID-19 infection rates low and New York moving through phased ‘reopening,’ the attention of elected officials, business leaders, and others has turned toward the city’s economic recovery. This month, two groups, the Partnership for New York City, which represents many of the city’s largest businesses, and a new coalition, the New York Workforce Recovery Strategy Group, have released recovery plans with somewhat different focuses and

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  • Diploma Privilege Now

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    Taking the oath (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    James, whose name we’ve changed for confidentiality, is a recent law school graduate living in Brooklyn. Their partner had been the household’s sole income-earner — covering rent, food, and more — until she lost all employment during the COVID-19 pandemic and has not been able to get a new job. The couple now survives through unemployment checks, which could be reduced

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  • Neither Quality Nor Quantity: Mayor De Blasio’s Unworkable School Reopening Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio & Chancellor Carranza (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Many of my colleagues are discussing whether or not it’s safe to go back to school buildings in New York City. Will buildings that were never clean before become clean now? Will buildings that were never properly ventilated suddenly become state of the art? Will children and teenagers observe social distancing in and out of school? I’ll leave all that to your imagination and focus mostly on the pedagogical. 

    It’s not hard to explain the best possible way to administer

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  • Surveillance and the City: Cuomo’s Covid Security Theater

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    Governor Cuomo headed to Georgia (photo: governor's office)


    For years, travelers have complained about security theater at our airports. Even as we’re forced to do everything short of strip naked for TSA agents, people are still able to sneak guns, ...

  • Little Support for De Blasio's Claim that Court Shutdown is Driving Gun Violence Surge

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    De Blasio and Shea discuss public safety (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea are marooned on an island with few substantive details to sustain their claim that one of the biggest drivers of New York City's recent increase in gun violence is a pandemic-stalled court system.

    The two have repeatedly offered largely unsupported claims that the coronavirus-related suspension of grand juries and a slow-down in gun offense prosecutions has made the courts a major contributor to the surge in shootings throughout the

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  • To Honor Essential Workers, Congress Must Save Public Transit

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    Nurses and other essential workers need public transit (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    I am a lifelong New Yorker and public transit rider. In March, when so many of my friends, family, and neighbors stopped commuting, I kept traveling to work. I depend on a bus and two subways to get from my Queens home to the East Side of Manhattan hospital where I’m a pharmacist. 

    Like most people, I had never heard of “essential workers” before COVID-19. Everyone I knew got up and went to work regardless of what job they had. And thankfully, many I know

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  • New York City Public Hospitals Were Unprepared for Major Crisis, Costing Lives During Covid Outbreak, Review Finds

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    Mayor de Blasio visits Elmhurst Hospital (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    New York City and State governments’ lack of support for the city’s public hospitals left them underprepared in almost every way for the COVID-19 pandemic, even when the disease seemed likely to come to the city and despite warnings dating back to 2006 about the very conditions that would lead to an overwhelmed hospital system that became a real-life nightmare for New Yorkers, according to a preliminary report by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer

    And when COVID-19

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  • Congress Returns; New York’s Future Hangs in the Balance

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    The U.S. Capitol (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    With Congress back in Washington, D.C., New Yorkers have a big stake in the outcome of the next federal economic stimulus package. 

    No Clear Signals on New Aid to State and Local Government
    Serious negotiations are finally starting on an aid program to help an American economy devastated by the coronavirus recession. Two months have elapsed since the Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion aid package that included $1 trillion in support for state and

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