Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

coronavirus

coronavirus

  • Mayor de Blasio: Where's the Full School Reopening Plan?

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


    I’m writing this on June 25—the last day of the 2020-2021 school year.

    And while we know next school year will start on September 13, there's so much we still don't know.

    There are some factors—vaccination rate, CDC guidelines—that are holding up some of the details, but the lack of a clear plan and clear communication from Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Department of Education now promises some amount of chaos two months from now. And for those of us

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  • Mayor and City Council Reach Agreement on De Blasio's Last Budget, $98.7 Billion ‘Recovery' Plan

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    Mayor and Council Speaker in 2019 (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Wednesday announced an agreement on a $98.7 billion “recovery budget” for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins Thursday.

    The budget, the final one for both de Blasio and Johnson as they reach term limits, was $100 million more than the executive budget that the mayor unveiled in April, flush with billions in

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  • State Allows Psychiatric Facilities to Forcibly Vaccinate Patients Against COVID-19

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York State Office of Mental Health quietly issued guidance in April allowing psychiatric centers to vaccinate patients for COVID-19 over patient objections and without a court order in a unusual break from treatment protocols. The policy makes psychiatric patients in state custody one of the only adult populations in New York subject to forcible vaccination.

    The guidance, issued April 22, is a "clarification" giving hospital staff discretion to administer the vaccine without consent, an

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  • Primary Voters Must Consider Public Health in the Voting Booth

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    Vaccination (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    For the first time in more than a year, New Yorkers are starting to see a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. The city is finally leaping toward the promised “new normal” as basketball fans flood arenas and restaurant patrons spill into the streets with fewer worries about masking up and keeping distance. When our next mayor and City Council take office in January, we’re optimistic that the covid pandemic will be truly behind us.

    But for many New Yorkers, the health

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  • Report Shows Extensive Small Business Struggles, Ways City Government Can Help

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    Mayor visits business (photo: Ed Reed Mayor's Office)


    When the pandemic first spread through New York City in March 2020, Karen DiPeri stared at a list of events that her hospitality service company, HMG Plus, was scheduled to facilitate. HMG typically staffs corporate events — serving hor d’oeuvres, bartending, cleaning up afterwards — and as the city began to shut down, the company’s future grew uncertain. On HMG’s back-end software, active upcoming events show up in green. But as client after client canceled, DiPeri watched the orders turn into a stream of

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  • New York City is Heading in the Right Direction on Saving Small Businesses

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    A small business visit (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    After a devastating year for small businesses, we are heartened to see commitment from Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to dedicate $155 million to small business recovery and job training. In the last year, we’ve lost many businesses and community spaces due to the pandemic and the lack of timely and sufficient action at all

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  • City Should Quickly Expand Use of Schools as Vaccine Hubs — Welcoming Students, Parents, Staff and Anyone Else

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    Mayor de Blasio at a school offering vaccines (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City would launch covid vaccination sites at select schools across the city for 12 to 17-year-olds. The program is to start at four schools in the Bronx on Friday, June 4, and move to additional locations in the five boroughs, trying to vaccinate large numbers of kids by the end of school this month. The mayor should be commended for this initiative, along with City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of

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  • More Cops in the City Won’t Solve What's a National Gun Violence Spike

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    The mayor at a policing press conference (Mayor's Office)


    People joke that New Yorkers think our city is the center of the universe, but judging by the recent media coverage, you’d think the rest of the country fell off the map. As we respond to the heartbreaking surge in shootings, many are quick to link the trend to civil rights protections like bail reform or the repeal of the controversial police secrecy statute 50-a. But the truth is that this isn’t a New York City problem, it’s a national crisis, ...

  • How the Next City Council Can Prepare Communities for the Next Pandemic

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    Emergency department (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office )


    As New York finally begins to lift health restrictions related to the novel coronavirus, the next generation of leaders need to take the necessary steps to ensure that when, not if, another pandemic comes to our communities we are better prepared. Unfortunately, this time around too many communities of color, like in Southeast Queens, lacked the necessary resources and infrastructure to effectively handle this crisis; we cannot let that happen again.

    Fortunately

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  • Moving Toward a Full Reopening of New York City Schools — The Time is Now

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    Kids back at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    On Tuesday, April 27, my kids returned to full-time in-person school for the first time since Friday the 13th of March, 2020. But approximately 600,000 kids in New York City are still learning from home. We must do better.

    One surprising outcome of this pandemic: My three elementary school daughters -- Sadie, Juno and Ruby -- were thrilled at the promise of more time in the classroom. Their first morning back had the first-day-of-school energy as they giggled at reuniting friends

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  • A Year Later, Few Essential Workers Have Received Restitution for Getting Covid on the Job

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    Workers at work (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When state and city health officials closed down non-essential activities last spring to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, they acknowledged the heroics of people who had to continue to report to work, to operate the hospitals, food counters, and buses that kept New York vital. Yet while the vast majority of the likely hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who contracted COVID-19 on the job are eligible for workers' compensation, most have not applied and only a

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  • During Pandemic Peak, Psychiatric Patients Were Rushed Into Institutions

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    A state psychiatric hospital (photo: Office of Mental Health)


    As New York State hospitals began to fear the worst last spring -- that the pace of the coronavirus would overtake their ability to discharge patients and clear beds -- they had to decide what to do with people being admitted for acute psychiatric care.

    In the second week of March 2020, only 325 New Yorkers had tested positive for COVID-19 but images from abroad and the pace of infection outlined a worrying forecast. By the end of the week, New York would confirm its first casualty from a virus

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  • ‘Open Restaurants’ Shouldn’t Close Them Down

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    Outdoor dining (photo: @NYC_DOT)


    Surviving as a restaurant in New York City was never easy. But more than a year of indoor dining restrictions and the economic ruin of a global pandemic brought many restaurants that were able to hold on to the brink of bankruptcy. That is why we cheered when the city announced the permanent extension of the Open Restaurants program back

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  • What is New York City Doing to Prepare Its Workforce for the Post-Pandemic Economy?

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    Resource Fair (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the announcement Friday of a $155 million investment in small businesses, including $5.5 million for workforce development programming, Mayor Bill de Blasio staked a foothold along a critical frontier in New York City's pandemic recovery: preparing workers for the changing economy.

    The city's economy was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the unemployment rate jumping fivefold to a high of over 20% last June. In-person jobs have contracted significantly, especially in hospitality, nightlife, retail, and

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  • We Must Support Research to Help Combat Long-Haul COVID-19 and the Next Pandemic

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    Taking on covid (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    By now, every New Yorker knows someone who has been infected with COVID-19 or has had it themselves. Since the start of this pandemic, over 800,000 New York City residents have had a positive test. And a year into the fight against this disease, we know that the battle is far from over, as New Yorkers grapple with the effects of ...

  • It’s Time to Bring Joy Back to New York

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    Stand Up NY


    Laughter brings people joy, something that we’ve been missing for so long in New York thanks to the shutdowns by Governor Andrew Cuomo. We need New York to heal. That’s why I convinced my friend Dani Zoldan, the owner of Stand Up NY, to sue the governor. 

    Prior to this lawsuit, Dani was putting on shows in parks and subway cars. He was working around the mandates imposed on small businesses by the governor and other elected representatives. Dani skirted the law and put on

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  • ‘Cuomo’s Coronavirus Coup’ Revisited – One Year Later

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    It can be painful to look back, but perhaps never more than as we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. COVID-19 started long before March 13 2020, but that was the day everything changed in New York City. That was the day leaders declared a state of emergency and began the most dramatic shutdown in the city’s history. And that was also the same day I decried what I called “Cuomo’s

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Breaking Down Cuomo's Nursing Home Scandal

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    March 10, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Breaking Down Cuomo's Nursing Home Scandal

    Bill Hammond, senior fellow for health policy at The Empire Center, joined the show to break down Governor Cuomo's nursing home scandal and how it ties into the governor's larger COVID-19 response.

    Lis

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  • How to Get the City’s 136,000 Homebound Seniors Vaccinated More Quickly

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    Mayor de Blasio at a senior center (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Vaccines are the lifeline that will get us out of this crisis. But since vaccine distribution haltingly began two months ago, New York City’s estimated 136,000 homebound seniors had been left isolated with the knowledge that while they are the most at-risk of dying from COVID-19

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  • Mayor's Fund Provides $62 Million in Relief to Immigrants, Food to Health Care Workers

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    Mayor de Blasio announces Mayor's Fund fundraising (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    One year after the de Blasio administration established the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to support some of the individuals and businesses most acutely impacted by the pandemic, the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City has spent approximately $62 million on programs ranging from one-time payments to undocumented immigrants to grants for survivors of domestic violence. Though a significant sum was raised and moved out the door to key causes, some signature programs,

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  • Safely Getting Signatures in a Pandemic?

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    Volunteers petitioning (photo: @INDBrooklyn)


    Today — Tuesday, March 2, 2021 — thousands of people are taking to the streets across the five boroughs. Armed with facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizer, more pens than you can imagine, and stacks of inconveniently-long papers, these determined New Yorkers have made the decision to participate in our democratic system by collecting petition signatures to help get candidates on the ballot. 

    Many of them, however, did not make this decision of their own volition. Instead, they were given an ultimatum by our

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  • Covid Toll at State Psychiatric Facilities Has Remained Disproportionately High

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    Kingsboro Psychiatric Center (photo: New York State Office of Mental Health)


    One-fifth of patients in state-run inpatient psychiatric centers have contracted COVID-19 since the outbreak began last March, and 58 out of a total 8,200 individuals admitted to those institutions have died, according to new data provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) after a Gotham Gazette inquiry. The facilities embody one of several types of congregate living settings where residents are more vulnerable to the virus, and while they have smaller populations and

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  • What Schools Need to Reopen Safely and Truly Serve New York’s Kids

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    Kids back to school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    On Thursday morning, February 25, thousands of New York's middle school students scrambled for misplaced backpacks and student MetroCards, trundled out the door, and made their way to long-abandoned classrooms, ready at last to resume in-person instruction after months of remote learning. Thousands of teachers were there to greet them—many no doubt wearing nervous but enthusiastic grins behind their doubled-up facemasks.

    Sadly, my daughter Karina—a seventh-grader at Brooklyn's MS 88—wasn’t

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  • To Avoid More Cuomo 'Supplanting,' De Blasio Pushes for Direct Aid to New York City in Next Federal Package

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    Mayor de Blasio & Governor Cuomo (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)


    With so much on the line, Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing leaders in Washington, D.C. to allocate direct aid to New York City in the next big federal stimulus package, currently being negotiated among President Joe Biden and members of Congress. At the same time, de Blasio is calling on the State Legislature to help him stop Governor Andrew Cuomo from continuing to syphon off hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid coming through Albany.

    Both de Blasio and Cuomo have said

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  • At-Risk Communities Need a Covid Hero to Protect Critical Federal Resources

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    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Governor Cuomo has worked hard to cultivate a national reputation as the Emmy Award-winning hero of his own covid reality show – so why is he stripping federal resources from hospitals, clinics, and health centers on the front lines of the crisis? 

    Last year, the Cuomo Administration included a provision in the state budget that would cost safety net providers an estimated $154 million in federal resources the first year and $1.5 billion over five years. This Albany accounting

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