Today’s theme is ‘new faces’, and it’s appropriate that the first new face to introduce is my own. I’m driving the Cadillac this evening, and Alex Brook Lynn is sitting shotgun, navigating, and helping sort through today’s updates.
The Mayor’s New Crew
Here’s who the Mayor announced would be part of his response team today:
- Emma Wolfe: appointed as Deputy Mayor for Administration, currently the Mayor’s Chief of Staff. Managed his Mayoral campaign, then served in various intergovernmental affairs offices.
- Kathryn Garcia: appointed as COVID-19 Food Czar. Last year, appointed by the Mayor as Interim Chair of NYCHA, was Sanitation Commissioner from 2014–2018 and led the Mayor’s efforts in lead prevention.
- Peter Hatch: appointed as COVID-19 Public-Private Partnership Czar, was most recently the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for HHS and Senior Advisor to the Mayor on Street Homelessness.
- Gabrielle Fialkoff: brought in as Senior Advisor to the Mayor, previously served in that role and in the Office of Strategic Partnerships from 2014–2018.
- With increased urgency, Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated his request for supplies from anywhere and everywhere. “We’re literally scouring the globe.”
- He later announced that 1 million new masks would be headed to the city, along with 500,000 to Long Island, as well as the impending purchase of 6000 new ventilators. “We need 30,000,” he qualified, as well as announcing a gown shortage.
- In advance of incoming Army Corps of Engineers support, the Governor announced they were investigating the use of the Javits Center, two SUNY campuses on Long Island, and the Westchester Convention Center as makeshift hospitals.
- Mayor de Blasio reiterated his call for the Federal government to leverage its resources to help the city. “I have made repeated appeals to the federal government to get us basic medical supplies and there is no meaningful response” de Blasio said on CNN this morning.
- Anecdata: today, on MacDougal street, the going price for N95 masks was $7/mask. (Normal cost, during normal times: $0.75)
- How to Donate to NYC, from The City
- Current numbers of positive cases from the incarcerated, according to the Board of Corrections:
- 21 people in custody
- 12 DOC employees
- 5 Correctional Health Services employees
- The Board of Corrections is asking the City to release people from jail. Rosa Goldensohn shared a letter from Jacqueline Sherman, Interim Chair of the Board of Correction, calling on the city to:
- ‘immediately remove from jail all people at high risk of dying from COVID-19 infection’, and to ‘rapidly decrease the jail population’.
- The letter was addressed to all five of NYC’s District Attorneys, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the acting NYS DOC commissioner Anthony Annucci, and the NYC DOC commissioner Cynthia Brann.
- One of the blocks to releasing people is that the District Attorny for each case has to sign off on it, according to the Mayor, as we have noted in past dispatches.
- Several DAs including Brooklyn’s own Eric Gonzalez vowed to stop prosecuting low-level offenses.
Cuomo on the Hunt for Millennial Rule Flaunters
- Governor Cuomo took time during today’s conference (and on Twitter) to highlight one particular misconception he wanted to correct: “‘Well, young people don’t get this disease.’ You are wrong!”
- He then brought up that there is reported ‘noncompliance’ in city parks among young people, and stated that he’s ‘going down there today’ to ‘see what the situation is myself’.
- If you were in the parks today, and caught a sighting of the Governor, let us know.
- The Daily News reports similar stories, highlighting McCarren Park as an example of activity in the face of requests to stay indoors. Read it in the Daily News.
- Law360 reports that, in advance of yesterday’s order halting all evictions going into effect, hundreds of eviction cases were filed.
- The distinction is between the filing of orders and the execution of evictions themselves. The latter is part of yesterday’s decree, but until a moratorium is placed on the former, courts have no choice but to accept them.
- Read the full story here.
Cuomo vs. Congress
- The Federal government has a rule in place making federal aid contingent on halting any changes to state Medicaid.
- Governor Cuomo reiterated his intention to cut Medicaid, and stated the resulting loss in federal dollars makes it impossible to make a state budget work.
- Still unknown is whether any of Cuomo’s changes will actually get implemented, or whether the state Congressional delegation will listen to him.
- This is an interesting time for cuts to Medicaid to come up, though, right?
- Read more here in City and State.
Westchester County on the Upswing
- Governor Cuomo announced that new cases in Westchester County seem to be slowing down.
- They reported 294 cases there, lower than the 480 in Nassau County.
- “That’s very good news,” the Governor said.
Small Business Relief
The Mayor announced several updates on the city’s relief efforts for small businesses impacted by the crisis.
- For businesses with less than 5 employees who lost 25% or more of their revenue, the Mayor’s office received 466 applications. “They will all be processed on Monday, and money will go into bank accounts on Monday.”
- For businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and also lost 25% of their revenue, the loans will be processed on Sunday, “and the money will be in bank accounts at the end of this coming week.”
- See the Mayor announce it on Twitter.
- Go here for ongoing updates: nyc.gov/sbs
- A nervous public stocking up on groceries, limited opening hours, and maximum occupancy restrictions for supermarkets have all put pressure on the city’s food pantry network. Politico is reporting the current wave of pantry closures, pointing to ‘a looming crisis’.
- The Food Bank for New York City reports that 118 centers in its network closed on Friday.
- The Mayor’s office reported that 40 that it funds have closed.
- The Met Council on Jewish Poverty reports large essential supply orders have been cancelled, leading to a last-minute scramble and increased costs.
- “The situation is dire.” – Corey Johnson, City Council Speaker
- Read more at Politico.
- One nice addition from Azi Paybarah’s New York City focused newsletter for the New York Times (which is great, sign up here) was a collection of new online fitness resources, including the Instagram experience from Church Street Boxing. Upper West Side Yoga is also starting to stream classes, including some designed for teenagers and children.
Buses are Basically Free Now
- The MTA and its bus operator unions announced that, starting on Monday, New York City buses will be back-door boarding only. It serves to protect drivers from ongoing exposure, and also makes local routes effectively free. Read more in the Post.
- A case inside an air-traffic control school in Long Island caused a two-hour ground stop at all airports serving the city.
- The center was cleaned before it was reopened, and the FAA is investigating how many people interacted with the infected trainee. Read more in the Times.
Numbers, as of Saturday Evening: New York City
- Cases: 8115 (up from 7530 earlier in the day)
- Brooklyn: 2484
- Queens: 2254
- Manhattan: 1868
- The Bronx: 1071
- Staten Island: 437
- Hospitalization Rate: 1450 out of 8115 (17.8%)
- Intensive Care Rate: 370 out of 8115 (25% of hospitalizations, 4.5% of total)
- Deaths: 60 (up from 45 earlier in the day)