Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined a plan that promised to roll supplies and staff to the next “hotspot,” after it the virus crests in New York, since it is hitting us first and it is hitting us hardest, in an attempt to plea for a more urgent response to NY’s need for ventilators. He called it the start of a “rolling deployment.”
But, Cuomo also said that the money allocated to NY in the federal coronavirus stimulus package or “CARES Act,” was “not enough.”
- Currently, New York State would get $3.8 Billion
- New York City would get $1.3 Billion
- Cuomo said that the original bill passed by the House of Representatives had $17 Billion for New York City, and that it had been cut down in the Senate.
The Mayor of NYC Bill de Blasio spoke of the dire need for a larger share of the Covid-19 stimulus package, and named Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell specifically as the person responsible. He noted that New York City shoulders almost ⅓ of the entire country’s COVID-19 cases:
They gave us less than 1 percent of the money that they were giving out to cities and states… – that is just immoral.”Mayor de Blasio
New Yorkers are left to wonder if the bottle neck of money and support, as our death toll rises, is purposeful and punitive. As our nation’s leaders start to reframe the virus as a New York problem, should New Yorkers feel like they are left to fend for themselves?
For more in-depth coverage of the dynamics that affect the those that live and die in New York City, read Politico: New York reaches a coronavirus breaking point with Trump.
NYC on P.A.U.S.E. (Shelter in Place)
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that if the City could not enforce social distancing in parks and playgrounds that he would have to shut them down. It wasn’t a great start to the trial period, as he announced today that they are removing 80 basketball hoops. Read more from the New York Post.
A terrifying report released today shows that COVID-19 is making its way through Riker’s Island at 7x the rate of the city and almost 10x the rate of the state. The report, put together by The Legal Aid Society shows in several stark charts how the confined environment of Riker’s is proving to be a hot zone for the virus.
- When asked about the situation at Rikers, Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Mitchell Katz, President of NYC Health + Hospitals, they reiterated their commitment to get as many inmates out as possible
- They also said there are no plans to create a hospital on Riker’s: the jail is empty enough that putting enough space between symptomatic inmates is possible.
- Read about The Legal Aid Society’s work in City Limits.
- Also, AOC fears for NY’s elderly prisoners amid coronavirus spread (via the Daily News)
- Finally, according to Vice, the ‘NYS Clean’-branded hand sanitizer is both made in prisons and…just re-bottling existing hand sanitizer.
Medical Supplies / Hospitals
Andrew Cuomo laid out a plan to increase the bed capacity of New York State.
- Need 140K Beds. Have 53K
- Need 40K ICU Beds. Have 3K
SoftBank, the funding power behind Uber and AirBnB, donated 1.4 million N-95 masks to New York State, according to Governor Cuomo’s Twitter account.
Queens has the highest number of cases of any borough. Elmhurst Hospital got hit hard today with 13 deaths and is now at the “center” of the crisis. Read more at The City.
Finally, NYU is letting some students graduate early so they can join the forces fighting coronavirus. Read more in the Daily News.
The Daily News reports that the city has issued more than 1,000 violations for price gouging.
How are we supposed to pay Rent?
As much as New York City wanted to go ‘on PAUSE’, the calendar persisted: we’re approaching the first of the month, and lawmakers and advocates in the city are trying to figure out how people are supposed to pay rent in the midst of the crisis.
- The first plan is called ‘Renter’s Choice.’
- Introduced by Brooklyn and Manhattan Borough Presidents Eric Adams and Gale Brewer
- This allows tenants to apply their security deposit to next month’s rent
- Normally, security deposits are held in escrow and unable to be accessed by landlords: this bill would relax that restriction.
- The renter would have 30 days to pay back the security deposit, or buy ‘low-cost insurance’ for a few dollars a month.
- The positive: people would be able to pay their rent, and it doesn’t involve anyone spending any money.
- The negatives: it’s basically taking out a one month loan on yourself.
- This is really important: this shows how a 90-day ban on evictions only delays an eviction by 90 days rather than preventing it: real rent relief means getting landlords money in some way.
- They are hoping for Mayoral and City Council approval, which could come at the end of the week.
- The second plan has larger scope: 90-day rent forgiveness.
- This is a bill written by State Senator Michael Gianaris, and co-sponsored by 13 other Senators.
- Simply put, this bill would forgive rent for three months, with no late fees and no expectation to pay later.
- This also goes up the chain, allowing the landlord, if they’re paying a mortgage, to have their mortgage decreased by the amount of unpaid rent for the same period.
- Importantly, the chain stops at the banks holding the mortgage: to Gianaris, the banks are the institutions “best-positioned to seek federal relief” compared to landlords and tenants.
- The positives: It’s what it says on the tin: no rent for three months.
- But, it essentially passes the buck to the federal government, and assumes the banks and the fed can work it out.
- Read more at the Daily News.
- Is any of this actually going to come through?
- We don’t know, but whatever is going to happen has to happen fast.
- The thousands of hourly workers that got laid off by businesses closing are starting to run out of money. Read more in Gothamist.
- The EPI estimates over three million people filed for unemployment nationwide.
- The number of infected in shelters jumps to 39, and the first homeless person with Coronavirus has died.
- The Daily News reports a homeless person with coronavirus symptoms was sent back to a shelter while showing symptoms.
The City had set up “Regional Enrichment Centers” to care for and educate the children of first responders and healthcare workers. Due to the low turnout in the first few days, they expanded the umbrella to to include the children of:
- Grocery & Pharmacy
- Staff at Dept of Health
- SI Ferry and NYC ferry
- Dept. of Environmental Protection
- Essential staff from Dept of Probation
- After NY1 Inside City Hall host Errol Louis was slow-bike shamed by a city cyclist, Dave Colon of Streetsblog wrote about how bikers need to get “radicalized” to the idea that this is the world cyclists wanted. Read more at nyc.streetsblog
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
People and Institutions that are Helping
- The Queens Daily Eagle covered a new site called CoronaMetro that aims to connect people who need a Metrocard with those who have them, but have to work from home. Read more here.
- The Daily News published this story today about a woman in Brooklyn who built a similar program in Google Docs. Read more here.
- Leveler.info is a platform connecting salaried and stable workers with those in need, encouraging equally distributed small dollar contributions.
- Governor Cuomo announced today on Twitter that the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street would be providing free lodging and hospitality to medical personnel fighting coronavirus.
- This program connects people with masks to donate with the places that need them. Masks for Docs
- Here’s the councilman from Bensonhurst reporting a donation:
Don’t Get Got
NY Attorney General Leticia James set out a press release warning upstaters about Coronavirus scams. Read the press release here.
Queens Councilman Rory Lancman alerted the Mayor to some especially egregious social distancing violators today:
|Wednesday, 6pm||Thursday, 9:30am||Thursday, 5pm|
|– The Bronx||8607||9107||9343|
|– Staten Island||2552||2723||2822|
Here is 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
Here’s Cuomo referencing a quote from his father, and speaking to what makes New York so great.