Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

public health

public health

  • may covid19test

    Mayor de Blasio gets tested (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography)


    As New York City public health officials try to get a handle on a series of COVID-19 “hot spots,” they lack the tools to know exactly how the voluntary testing data they collect skews the true prevalence of the virus, both in communities of concern and city-wide. In the absence of randomized testing, public health officials rely on the results of voluntary testing, an especially challenging process given new evidence some New Yorkers are organizing to game the system against that weakness.

    New York's

    ...
  • science policy topics in nyc

    Mapping community concerns that science can help address


    Any true New Yorker knows the question is not if New York City will rebuild from COVID-19, but how and when. In order to genuinely build back a better, more sustainable, equitable, and resilient city there has never been more need for effective partnerships between communities, government, and experts. 

    Science for New York aims to overcome these challenges on a local scale in New York City. We are scientists who volunteer our skills to translate technical and analytical

    ...
  • crim just rel

    The mayor at a jails to jobs announcement (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    For Julio Medina, the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City was going to pose a unique set of challenges. As executive director at the Exodus Transitional Community, Medina focuses on support and services for the formerly incarcerated, or re-entry services. When Rikers Island became one of the most densely COVID-19-infected areas, the city released over 1,500 people either being detained pre-trial or toward the end of their short sentences. But, advocates and service-providers say, a

    ...
  • comm hospital chair

    Council Member Carline Rivera, the author (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    Like most New Yorkers who lived through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am still reeling from the trauma and chaos we experienced this spring. But until I set foot on Rikers Island last week, I had an incomplete understanding of what the true horrors of COVID-19 were for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.

    At the height of the pandemic, Rikers saw an infection ...

  • 2 covid testing

    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

    ...
  • fl bk baby

    Deep and deadly health care disparities persist (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    In December of 2019, Sha-Asia Washington joyfully announced her pregnancy to her mother. In December of 2018 I had done the same. Throughout the Spring of 2020, she and her boyfriend counted down the days until her June due date. I had done the same in 2019. As she neared her due date, she went into the hospital with high

    ...
  • augustine terrace housing

    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

    ...
  • 5 health hos elmhurst

    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

    ...
  • new york city summer night pink clouds

    Summer heat has arrived (photo: governor's office)


    The sudden spread of COVID-19 caught governments around the world off-guard, setting off one of the deadliest public health crises in generations. We are learning many lessons from this pandemic, including the importance of preparing for emergencies early and taking decisive action when they strike, especially in New York State, the epicenter of the crisis, where there are over 380,000 confirmed cases and more than 24,000 deaths.

    With summer officially beginning on June 20, another

    ...
  • 2 drug overdose

    Mayor de Blasio makes an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    As the coronavirus ravaged New York, hospitals were flooded with patients and city services ground to a halt. Activists and elected officials worried that in the fray of the pandemic, with New Yorkers ordered to mostly stay inside and millions losing work, the already prevalent opioid epidemic in the state could be further exacerbated. But city and state health officials don’t have full grasp on the scope of the problem, and may not know for months, because of a lag in how drug

    ...
  • pride epidemic

    June is Pride month (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Octavia Leona Kohner is a former sex worker and a survivor of sexual assault. As a woman of transgender experience, she’s 49 times more likely than the general population to be HIV positive. But Octavia is HIV negative. She’s an example of the tremendous progress we’ve made in our effort to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York State -- an epidemic that has disproportionately impacted the LGBTQ community and communities of color.

    Six years ago, New York set out to end HIV by 2020, and thanks to

    ...
  • highbridge rec center

    Front-line workers (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the fragility of our region. It has compromised our physical and mental health, caused unprecedented disruption to our economy, and created a deep uncertainty about our future.

    Across the state, the pandemic has revealed how inequitably our communities are prepared to cope with an emergency of this magnitude. The Department of Health in New York City released ...

  • peaker plants comm

    A peaker plant


    As the weather warms and we head into the summer, we again expect record-breaking temperatures. Thousands of New Yorkers worry about accessing air conditioning units and surviving a hot summer in cramped apartments, and many will struggle to balance higher electricity bills from air conditioning against costs of health care, food, and rent. But most people don’t worry about the increased electricity demand from widespread air conditioning use during hot days and heat waves.

    Most New Yorkers are unlikely to know about the polluting power plants

    ...
  • pantry si project

    Food being prepared during the coronavirus crisis (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos of Manhattan, both Democrats, announced new legislation last week that would mandate nutrition standards for the “grab & go” and home delivered meals provided by the city, which have become essential sources of food for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during the coronavirus crisis.

    As unemployment in the city has skyrocketed from 4% to past 14%, children are not attending schools

    ...
  • 1

    Pizza Rat (Youtube); Dilapidated NYC Parks Bathroom, NYC Comptroller’s Office


    The tens of millions annual tourists who supercharged New York City’s economic growth during the past few decades looked past the low public hygiene standards in their pursuit of skyline views and Broadway shows. Public restrooms? Very few and mostly awful. Overcrowded sidewalks? We got ‘em! Millions of long-suffering visitors and residents have had to tolerate oozing garbage bags on city sidewalks, grimy subway stations, crowded playgrounds, gross bathrooms in city parks, and more. When a pizza-eating rat in

    ...
  • 4 mbdb recipe

    Mayor de Blasio holding a food package (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York City officials’ recently-released plan for how the city will keep New Yorkers fed during the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis does exactly that: tells us how New Yorkers will be fed. But where it missed the mark altogether is that it lacks any direction as to how it will keep New Yorkers well-fed.

    The lack of consistent access to healthy food, which has been a looming

    ...
  • hospitals and emergency rooms in new york city

    Emergency rooms are overflowing amid the coronavirus outbreak (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    [This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one: A 'Human Rights Tragedy' Unfolding - Part I: Racial Bias and Life-Saving Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic]

    Dr. Yomaris Peña begins each day at 4:30 a.m. as a primary care provider in

    ...
  • Donovan Richards

    Council Member Donovan Richards, the author (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    The lack of coronavirus testing sites in poor communities and particularly communities of color is costing black and brown New Yorkers their lives. There is no clearer example of institutional racism than the different infection and mortality rates during this crisis. It is a scar on our nation and our city. In areas of New York City that already experience the highest rates of asthma, diabetes, and other underlying conditions, this virus has already proven to be a death

    ...
  • mark levine district

    Council Member Levine gets a flu shot (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    March 25, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The City's Developing Public Health Response to Coronavirus

    mark levinewbai150City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Council's health committee, joined the show to discuss the city's developing response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Listen to the

    ...
  • mayor covid

    social distancing amid coronavirus is key (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New Yorkers have a particular way of showing solidarity. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, resuming normal life was an act of bravery. We would not be derailed. We would carry on. As tragedies have struck other cities and countries, the language of solidarity, arguably the language of coping, has stayed the same. In essence, we come together, try to restore a sense of normalcy, and move forward.

    The rapid spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, has rattled the

    ...
  • daily life imagery

    It's time for social distancing in New York (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Much of my life’s work has been about building in-person social connections. Now, I'm wrestling with how to understand and participate in "social distancing" as a way to confront the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

    I help run a network of hundreds of political social events around the country that has created friendships and solidarity through face-to-face gatherings. I'm also chair of the board of The Tank, a Manhattan theater that runs 20

    ...
  • daily life imageryshot

    People need secure housing for themselves & others (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    No one is immune to the novel coronavirus: The World Health Organization recently declared the outbreak a pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, and the congressional doctor reportedly expects up to 150 million citizens to be infected.

    Do you know who is most vulnerable to COVID-19? Health professionals have identified people who are elderly and sick as particularly at risk, but we must not forget those who are poor or

    ...
  • wbai city express

    Health officials must manage the coronavirus in New York (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    March 4, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Coronavirus in New York - Threat, Preparation, & Response

    levin gershonDr. Robyn Gershon of NYU School of Global Public Health and City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the Council's health committee, joined the show to discuss the new coronavirus

    ...
  • fair toy lte

    (photo: @TheToyAssociation)


    To the Editor,

    As the not-for-profit association representing businesses that create and deliver toys to kids, The Toy Association counts 126 companies in New York State among its membership of more than 1,100 toymakers and retailers. Every single one of these companies prioritizes keeping children safe at play, above all else.

    I’d like to set the record straight regarding the mistruths and inaccuracies in Christine Appah’s opinion piece, “...

  • New York City opioid treatment

    (photo: Edwin Torres/Mayor's Office)


    New York City is showing modest progress in the fight to curb the explosion in drug overdoses, with the health department reporting 38 fewer deaths last year compared to 2017, after a concerted $60-million effort focused on substance abuse prevention, treatment, and education, especially with regard to opioids.

    One aspect of that fight has been the expansion of access to medication-assisted treatment, which experts and activists

    ...