Gotham Gazette

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coronavirus

coronavirus

  • As Coronavirus Overwhelms Funeral Homes, New York Must Act to Allow Alternatives to Traditional Burials

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    (photo: betterplaceforests via Instragram)


    Across New York City, communities of color have been disproportionately hurt by COVID-19. Along with my colleagues in the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus (NYSBPRHA), I have heard from countless New Yorkers the numerous real and painful struggles they are dealing with as a result of the pandemic. Many are frontline and essential workers who continue to do their jobs day after day, risking their lives in order to help others. Per one recent ...

  • Lessons from Two Plagues

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    My career in public health and health care is bookended by plagues. I graduated from college in the 1980s and moved to the West Coast. It was a time of freedom and fun and I was living what felt then like an “adult” life; I had a job, my own apartment, a car, a dog, a boyfriend. Life was good.

    But something dark and sad was hovering around me at the same time. The HIV/AIDS pandemic was in full effect. By 1990, more than 120,000 Americans had died of the mysterious disease. I knew people who were sick or

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  • To Prepare for Future Crises and Recover from This One, Bring the Supply Chain Back to the United States

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    Ventilators arriving in New York from China (photo: governor's office)


    It’s been incredibly horrifying to watch scenes unfolding at New York City’s public hospitals as medical staff struggle to keep pace with the coronavirus pandemic. Although doctors and nurses—from Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn to Jacobi in the Bronx—have shown remarkable courage under fire, they are under siege from an invisible enemy that shows no mercy to those in its path.

    The situation has been tough for my mother to bear.

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  • City Sees Crush of Public Assistance Applications as Coronavirus Recession Takes Hold

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    New Yorkers wait on line for food (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As New York City shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak, and hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs and livelihoods, the city saw a massive increase in applications for food stamps and cash assistance.

    According to new data from the city’s Human Resources Administration and Department of Social Services, applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly referred to as food stamps, and for cash assistance have surged since the

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  • A CLEAR Path Forward on Emergency Preparedness

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    Mayor de Blasio holds an emergency management briefing (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    I’m writing this from my living room. My three-month-old daughter is across the room, sleeping in her activity gym. My wife is watching television. This should be another normal day, but all of us, including you reading this, knows it's not. Our daughter has barely seen her grandparents since February. My wife hasn't seen the outside world in almost two months. Aside from a few stressful trips along empty streets to the grocery store, neither have I.

    Nothing about this

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  • City Budget Crisis, State Bail Reform Could Delay Closure of Rikers Island Jails

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Rikers Island jail complex, a notorious and decrepit institution sitting on 413 acres in the East River, was slated for closure well before New York City became the country’s epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, during which the complex has emerged as a hotspot for infections that have led to the deaths of several detainees and corrections officers.

    But the timeline for shutting down the jail complex and building local jails in four boroughs has been thrust into uncertainty by countervailing

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  • Coronavirus, Climate Change and Coming Together Amid Catastrophe

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    The current crisis reminds us of the past and warns us about the future (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Everyone on Long Island remembers how it felt during Hurricane Sandy. We were paralyzed, waiting for the storm to pass, fearing for our families, homes, and basic needs. When the skies finally cleared, and we saw the scale of the destruction, it was clear that no individual one of us was strong enough, connected enough, or resourced enough to recover alone. We needed each other, we needed our community, we needed to come

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  • Key Constitutional Obstacles to Efficient Reopening of New York Courts

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    Important challenges when New York courts reopen (photo: governor's office)


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

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  • What New York City Voters Need to Know About the June Primary Elections

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    What voters need to know to vote in June (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The images of Wisconsin voters standing in line last month starkly illustrated how COVID-19 has triggered a health emergency for our democracy. Here in New York, elections have been postponed or canceled in response to the pandemic. We are taking the first steps towards voting in a new way, via mail-in absentee ballots. With all of these rapid changes, it is no wonder voters are confused about what steps they can take to cast a vote safely and help maintain the

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  • As Construction Sites Reopen, Access to Safety Training Must Too

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    Construction workers will be among the first back to work (photo: governor's office)


    In the blink of an eye, COVID-19 brought most of New York City’s construction industry to a halt, leaving thousands of hardworking individuals jobless and struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, Governor Cuomo recently announced a phased plan to reopen the construction industry, which will create an increased demand for workers.

    But we can’t forget that as a requirement for employment in New York City’s industry, many construction workers and job applicants will need to complete additional

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  • Police Patrols Promised to Combat Anti-Semitism Arrived to Enforce Social Distancing, Orthodox Leaders Say

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    Mayor de Blasio & city officials in Borough Park in January (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    [UPDATE (5/19/20): After this story was published, an NYPD spokesperson told Gotham Gazette security cameras had been installed at 30 locations in Brooklyn as part of an effort to combat anti-Semitic hate crimes. The remaining 70 cameras planned to be deployed with the input of the community have likely been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, the spokesperson said.]

    Mayor Bill de Blasio in January announced 100 new

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  • City Moves to Meet Need for Culturally Diverse Emergency Food

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    The City continues to try to meet food needs amid the coronavirus crisis (photo: @NYCHRA)


    The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on food access, with unemployment skyrocketing and increasingly more people relying on food assistance, food pantries, and meals provided by the city. Additionally, as New York City is home to many different races, ethnicities, and cultural traditions, concerns have arisen about whether the city’s massive emergency food program, including food delivery, is reflecting that diversity, causing further food stress on communities.

    New

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  • Let’s Thank All Caregivers, Not Just the Most Visible

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    Thanking all caregivers is essential amid the pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Long-term care is the fastest growing sector within the health-care industry in New York City, and with 1.2 million New Yorkers now over the age of 65, it will only continue to grow in size and importance over the next 10 years.

    Nevertheless, this vital health-care workforce remains largely invisible as most paid long-term care services are provided by direct care workers to homebound individuals. Sadly, when it comes to long-term care, out of sight often means out

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  • From the Front Lines: A Respiratory Therapist’s Plea for the Next COVID-19 Package

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    A frontline health-care worker on what's needed next from DC (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    It has been a challenging, frightening time for everyone, but especially for those of us working in health care. Amid all the suffering and anxiety brought about by COVID-19, health-care workers on the frontlines have continued to show up and display strength, faith, and courage in taking care of the most vulnerable.

    During these difficult times, I have never seen such dedication displayed by my co-workers in health-care facilities across New York City and

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  • Carbon Free Is How We Build Back From COVID-19

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    Is the post-coronavirus future renewable? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    There have been many hard-learned lessons from COVID-19, but by far the most tragic – paid for with the lives of tens of thousands of people – is that when it comes to dealing with a public health crisis, preparation and proactive planning is the only approach that can keep our worst nightmares from becoming a reality. While New York is still far from reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, many inside and outside of government have rightly begun to envision what a restart to our economy

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  • Surveillance and the City: Public Trust Needed for a Public Tracing System

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    Bloomberg and Cuomo team up on contact tracing (photo: Darren McGee/Governor's Office)


    The scene sounds familiar: Michael Bloomberg overseeing thousands of officials tracking where New Yorkers go and who they spend time with, all in the name of keeping us safe. In 2010, it was then-Mayor Bloomberg overseeing tens-of-thousands of NYPD officers as they stopped and frisked New

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  • De Blasio, NYPD Remain Vague About Social Distancing Protocols Amid Backlash Over Racial Disparities in Enforcement

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    Police officers have been charged with social distancing enforcement (photo: NYPD)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has made the New York City Police Department the agency primarily responsible for ensuring social distancing in public amid the coronavirus outbreak, and while police data shows enforcement is taking place primarily in black and Hispanic communities, the city has not disclosed any official enforcement policies or guidance given to officers.

    In recent weeks, de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea have made vague references to

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  • Governor Cuomo Owes Subway Riders and Homeless New Yorkers A Housing Plan

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    Governor Cuomo disinfects a subway car (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    The subway is New York’s circulatory system. If it doesn’t recover, New York won’t. But reopening the subway and the city means more than running more trains: It also means helping homeless New Yorkers who today have nowhere else safe to go.  

    That is because, as Governor Cuomo demonstrated, the city’s transit crisis is too entwined with its housing crisis for the MTA alone to bring the subway back. In response to the rising number of New Yorkers with no choice

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  • First Citywide Participatory Budgeting Program on Chopping Block Because of Coronavirus

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    Participatory budgeting was due for a big increase (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    A new citywide participatory budgeting program, whereby New Yorkers directly decide how to spend city budget money, was meant to be in place by July 1 but may end up being severely limited as the city suffers from the coronavirus pandemic and its multifaceted fallout. 

    Creating the participatory budgeting program was one of the core duties for the New York City Civic Engagement Commission, which was established in the city Charter through a ballot referendum in 2018 that was

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  • New York City Could Receive $5.3 Billion from First Four Federal Coronavirus Packages

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    Mayor de Blasio & Senator Schumer (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus crisis drains city coffers with an enormous level of emergency government spending and the mandated shutdown of the economy has led tax revenues to plummet, New York City faces an estimated $8.7 billion budget gap. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the hole is dire and the extent to which the city will be shored up to weather the storm depends largely on what it will receive in federal aid.

    While lobbying and negotiations continue that question

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  • Coronavirus Shows Just How Much the Census Counts

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    Federal aid to New York City is even more urgent than ever (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    While many of our daily activities remain on hold, the 2020 Census must still be taken and completed this year. Not only is it required by the U.S. Constitution, but there is a tremendous amount at stake for New York, including billions of dollars in federal aid, a fair allocation of seats in Congress, and accurate representation in state and local government. From road repairs to education and social services, over 300 federal programs are driven by census data.

    Through my

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  • Opening Up New York’s COVID-19 Data Can Save Lives

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    (photo: governor's office)


    WHEREAS, Open Data Can Make New York Government More Transparent and Accountable in Order to Promote Public Trust and Save Lives During the COVID-19 pandemic...

    Something close to this is the preamble to Governor Cuomo’s 2013 Executive Order 95, which created the state’s open data program almost simultaneously with New York City’s pioneering Open Data Law. What does open data have to do with a massive pandemic and economic shutdown? Well, just about everything. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the

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  • Could a Public Works Program Save New York City's Economy?

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    Could the reinvigoration of the New York economy come from public works? (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Somewhere around a million New Yorkers are out of jobs and billions in tax revenue has evaporated as New York City bears the brunt of possibly the worst disaster in its history. The coronavirus has been devastating the city’s people, their way of life, and their livelihoods. As elected officials and experts look to the future, when the pandemic eventually subsides, they must plot a path out of the crises that will remain.

    New Yorkers will need jobs, and

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  • New York City's Spending on Coronavirus Fight Tops $1.4 Billion, Matched Thus Far by Federal Aid

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    Mayor de Blasio working with federal reinforcements (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York City has already spent just over $1.4 billion on its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor’s office told Gotham Gazette on Thursday. That sum roughly matches what the federal government has sent the city government in direct aid through multiple 'stimulus' packages.

    With New York City the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, an all-of-government response and a massive outlay of funds has been necessary. As of Thursday, May 7, the city reported

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Brooklyn BP Eric Adams on the City's Coronavirus Response

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    Brooklyn BP Eric Adams handing out information (photo: @BPEricAdams)


    May 06, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Brooklyn BP Eric Adams on the City's Coronavirus Response

    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams returned to the show to discuss the city's response to the coronavirus crisis, what he's seeing and doing on the ground in Brooklyn, what lessons have already be learned, and what should be done in the months ahead.

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