Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

public health

public health

  • Gotham Gazette: Amid rising overdoses, mental health and harm reduction support is more important

    The Mayor at an overdose prevention event (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    I know what it’s like to be on the front lines of an infectious disease. I launched my career in harm reduction in the 1980s, at the height of the HIV epidemic. Just like with HIV, the fallout from COVID-19 is not limited to the lives we’ve lost to the infection itself—there are ripple effects that will be felt long after our city fully re-opens.

    This time, it’s the twin tragedy of the

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  • brave heart bk

    Fast food drinks (photo: @brraveheart)


    A fast-food combo meal, perfect for lunch in a New York minute, right? Not so fast. A recent study of fast-food chain restaurants found that the default drink size included with combo meals at most restaurants contains more than an entire day’s worth of added sugars.

    With New Yorkers resorting to fast food out of convenience or necessity due to limited access to healthier options, it becomes an issue of public health and equity

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  • 1 primary voters public

    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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  • queens applaud staff

    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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  • greet workers avail

    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 ...

  • gov cuomo vaccine

    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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  • 5x5mashup 1

    Top (l-r): Carlos Menchaca, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Loree Sutton, Maya Wiley,
    Bottom (l-r): Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Andrew Yang


    Eleven Democratic candidates for mayor appeared at a virtual forum on Tuesday focused on how they would shape health policy to be more equitable in New York City, especially amidst and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the city’s health care infrastructure under considerable strain and has had a starkly unequal racial impact. The pandemic has thrust the issues of

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  • police academy a

    The covid vaccine (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic devastated Black, Latino, and immigrant communities across New York City at disproportionate levels last spring and since. Some lawmakers are now asking why the same populations were not included in vaccine priority plans crafted by the state and city.

    At a January 12 City Council oversight hearing on the de Blasio administration's roll-out of the first batches of the covid vaccine, members of the Council’s committees on hospitals and health asked the city's top

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  • mayor slow vaccine

    Mayor de Blasio vaccine promises (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Three weeks after New York City received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than five weeks after officials knew when they were coming, only a third of the half-million doses had been dolled out, raising questions about why the city wasn't more prepared to step into "the light at the end of the tunnel."

    That has been a favorite phrase of Mayor Bill de Blasio since he signaled the city was on the verge of receiving the life-saving, pandemic-ending treatment over a month ago.

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  • Cuomo state prison walkthrough

    Gov. Cuomo visits a prison, pre-pandemic (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)


    While New York continues to expand the circle of groups eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, people living and working in correctional facilities are being left out of the equation, despite early commitments from the city's Health Department and the heightened risk of infection in those settings.

    With a limited supply of the vaccine, public health officials at the state and city levels have been developing a plan to prioritize populations that are most exposed

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  • rich univ city

    Supplies arrive in Brooklyn (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Every neighborhood in New York City has been touched in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. But due to longstanding disparities in our health-care system and structural economic inequality, communities of color have been more susceptible to the virus and more vulnerable to its consequences. 

    One of these consequences was the distant and dysfunctional health-care supply system, which left safety net hospitals like One Brooklyn Health, which serve and employ the city’s most vulnerable, without

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  • aramark redcross robin

    Health care workers during covid (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered remarks at Riverside Church on the inequities in the Trump administration's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. He admirably stated that we must prioritize fairness and equity. Communities like many in the Bronx that have suffered the most because of this virus must not be left behind. But that commitment to leaving no community behind must also be applied to addressing the underlying issues that led to disproportionately negative outcomes for

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  • 49918397372 d41fff6edc c

    Covid field site (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    There are many high-stakes questions to be sorted out in the design of the coming covid vaccination distribution program. But there’s one issue that’s not receiving enough attention: How can we design a plan that avoids exacerbating pre-existing racial inequities and instead meaningfully advances equity?

    It’s essential that we answer this question — now.

    Vaccine distribution will be the most complicated implementation challenge of this pandemic, even

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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 ...