As the numbers of positive cases rise, the city is beginning to feel a heightened sense of urgency. We saw both our Governor and our Mayor get personal and emphatic during their press appearances, both while describing why we need more ventilators. The Mayor painted a gruesome picture of the consequence of our shortage:
“…if a doctor cannot get a ventilator to that patient, literally the minute they need it, if too many minutes pass, that patient will suffocate, that patient will die a horrible death and they’ll be gone forever.”Mayor Bill de Blasio
Governor Cuomo spoke of his mother, Matilda, after whom he named the law that provides protections for New Yorkers most vulnerable to COVID-19 – people over 70, and people with compromised immune systems.
“My mother is not expendable. And your mother is not expendable.”Governor Andrew Cuomo
It’s day two in our new normal. For being stuck inside all day, everything seems to be moving very fast: crime is plummeting, inmates are leaving Rikers in huge numbers, evictions are banned, and most of the news online is free again.
Cuomo Lays Out a Plan For Ventilators, and Trump Blows it Off.
This morning Andrew Cuomo detailed the differences in efficiency between allowing corporations to volunteer manufacturing and utilizing the Defense Production Act.
Here were his points:
- New York doesn’t just need ventilators, it needs them on a very urgent and specific timetable. In order to get them that fast, Cuomo insists the President needs to use the Defense Production Act to compel them to do so.
- After New York hits the apex of its curve, Cuomo will send the ventilators to the next state that is hitting a crisis point. “Address the curve here, and then that curve is going to be going all across the country.” The governor spoke with increasing urgency: “You hear what I’m saying here today? You’re going to have the governor of California, several weeks from today, saying the same thing.”
- New York should be used as a template on how to treat the rest of the states when they get hit. The Governor said that once New York had crested, he would not only move the ventilators to the next crisis state, but also the professionals: the doctors and administrators who had just been through it. “We can actually help one another. That’s smart! That’s right! That’s the American Way.”
- Listen to Cuomo’s press conference here.
Later in the afternoon, President Trump said that he didn’t need to leverage the Defense Production Act, because companies were stepping up.
The fact that we have it helps but we didn’t have to and for the most part we won’t have to. We’re receiving full cooperation from companies with the understanding that the federal government stands ready to compel cooperation if need be.President Trump
The President and his team spoke a lot about containing the spread of the virus, including asking anyone traveling from the New York metro area to self-quarantine for 14 days.
P.A.U.S.E (Shelter in Place)
Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea both seemed pleased with how PAUSE was going.
- Playgrounds: will they stay open?
- They said they will make the decision to close playgrounds this Saturday or not based on if people are following the social distancing rules.
- Commissioner Shea reported that crime in the past week was akin to when the city was ‘under three feet of snow’. Low.
- Specifically worrisome to Commissioner Shea was a sharp decrease in reported sexual assault, and domestic violence, which both Shea and Mayor de Blasio noted was most likely not because these crimes weren’t happening but because they aren’t being reported.
- What’s it like to be alone?
Medical Supplies / Hospitals
- The Federal government sent 4000 ventilators to New York State, 2000 of which are pledged to New York City.
- At a news conference highlighting the 400 delivered yesterday, Mayor de Blasio stressed that the need far surpassed what was on the way, and that this supply would extend New York’s capacity “by days, not weeks.”
- Cuomo: “FEMA says, “We’re sending 400 ventilators.” Really? What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000? You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”
Governor Cuomo addressed the potential for a drug combination, promoted yesterday by the President, to have an impact on the virus.
“He said he had heard good things about that drug combination. So had I, I said, “Send it to me. I will use it first. As soon as you send it to me, I will use it.” He sent it to me. I’m using it today.”Governor Cuomo
- However, he made sure to note that regardless of the drugs effectiveness, you don’t get around needing the ventilators and needing the hospital beds. “You’re still going to need the beds for people to be on a ventilator while you give them the drug, even if it turns out that it winds up saving their lives.”
In an already tense press conference, Mayor de Blasio gave some heavy budget-related news: he had asked the Office of Management and Budget to begin yet another Savings Program (also known as a PEG program), with the goal of saving a total of $1.3 billion in the city budget through having every city agency start to make serious cuts.
- These are not new: one was included in the 2019/2020 budget that represented a savings of $916 million.
- This one represents, according to Mayor de Blasio, one response to a growing fiscal dilemma: “that number may have to grow in the near future as we continue to lose revenue and see massive new expenses because of this crisis.”
The day after Principal Dez-Ann Romain died, another NYC principal is in ICU with pneumonia, and is suspected to have become infected. Read more in the Post.
Here’s what the Mayor is doing about the jail population, given the rise in COVID-19 cases inside Rikers and other city prisons.
- Who does the Mayor have the power to release?
- Inmates serving ‘city sentences’: “they have gone to trial, they’ve been found guilty, they’ve been sentenced, and the sentence is under one year and they would serve that sentence on Rikers Island.”
- Who has the Mayor released already?
- 75 inmates, that are either over 70 or have pre-existing conditions, have been released already.
- Of those inmates serving ‘city sentences’, he has committed to releasing 300 immediately, and reviewing the rest on a case-by-case basis.
- The Mayor said specifically that the people he’s releasing are not serving time for domestic violence or sexual assault charges.
- Around 100 people are awaiting trial that have pre-existing conditions. The Mayor is working with the appropriate DA’s to determine whether to release them.
- There are also around 700 technical parole violators that the Mayor would like to release, but needs to work with the State to review this group.
- Starting tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25th, the Subway system is moving to an “Essential Service Plan.” B, W, and Z lines are all being cut completely. Read More about what that means at NY1.
- Alternate side parking is off again, but only for another week (until 3/31).
- The concern seems to have been whether the streets could be kept sufficiently clean, and at least for this week, they have been clean enough to allow for a suspension for another week.
- At the Mayor’s press conference today, Commissioner Shea acknowledged that there were as of yet 211 cases of the coronavirus among uniform police and civilian personnel.
- He also acknowledged that between 2700 and 2800 service people were ‘out sick’.
- Read more in the Post.
Below are several great resources, city, national, and internationally focused, that bring together various data sources about the pandemic. We’ll keep adding to this list.
- The City’s COVID-19 TRACKER
- A high schooler in Washington State assembled various international data sources in this well organized dashboard.
- Politico is doing a nightly national roundup of news concerning COVID-19
Here’s how to donate to stuff or volunteer if you want
- How to Donate to NYC, from The City
- Produce or Donate Supplies to the City, NYC’s official supply donation platform.
- Volunteer to hand out food
- Donate blood.
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