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COVID Newsletters

COVID weekly newsletter (3/18)


It’s Thursday, March 18, 2021. Welcome to my weekly COVID-19 newsletter.

This newsletter is narrowing its focus to public health news only after this week, as part of the City Charter-mandated pre-election blackout period. But our events listing will be posted on on Mondays (instead of being emailed), and we will blast only COVID public health information to your inbox on Thursdays. We’ll also post to our TwitterFacebook, and Instagram accounts when the events web page is “live”– so follow us there!

Here are the bullets for NYC according to nonprofit news site’s COVID-19 tracker, the New York State COVID testing dashboard, and the NYC Dept. of Health:


  • 114,705 cumulative confirmed cases (+4,098 from last week)

  • 4,077 cumulative deaths (+69 since last week)

  • 2.8% seven-day positivity average (up from 2.6% last week)

  • 195,539 adults (14%) partially vaccinated

  • 237,441 adults (17%) fully vaccinated


  • 775,990 total cases (+26,979 from last week)

  • 30,406 total deaths (+423 since last week)

  • 6.42% seven-day positivity average (up from 6.35% last week)

  • 838,313 adults (13%) partially vaccinated

  • 791,741 adults (12%) fully vaccinated

The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s weekly “reference scenario” estimates 60,627 more deaths nationwide through July 1 (a projected cumulative total of 596,201). While this is up from last week’s prediction (576,000 total deaths), it’s down dramatically from mid-February predictions of 630,881 total deaths by June 1 (a full month before this week’s projection ends).


The Atlanta shootings Tuesday night were, of course, shocking. While police are still investigating whether these were hate crimes, I agree with Vice President Kamala Harris when she said yesterday, “Knowing the increasing level of hate crimes against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any form of hate.” has created a list of resources about the history of anti-Asian racism in America. I’ll be attending the Asian American Federation’s peace vigil tomorrow (3/19) at 6 p.m. in Union Square.

During the regular Tuesday meeting of my Manhattan Vaccine Task Force, we heard from LiveOnNY’s Allison Knickerson about the successes and challenges in getting seniors vaccinated and representatives from Walgreens about their vaccine rollout and scheduling system. As the city begins to open up further, the task force will discuss recovery across all sectors, alternating weeks with discussing vaccination efforts. If you’d like to join, email

Here is a good explainer of “How Cuomo investigation, possible impeachment could play out” by the Associated Press from last weekend. I learned through this piece that, under the state’s constitution, Governors who are impeached must relinquish their power to the Lt. Governor immediately after a majority votes to impeach in the State Assembly, and until a trial is concluded in the State Senate.

This week, I’ll be releasing a series of reports, including a land use guide for religious facilities and reports on affordable housing, small business, and the Open Streets program. Visit my website in the coming days to read them. Recently posted are “Steps to a more Age-friendly Manhattan” and “Police Reform Toolkit.”

Save the date for my Women’s History Month event with historian Pam Elam and sculptor Meredith Bergmann at the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument on Central Park’s Literary Walk. Join us Monday, 3/29 at 1 pm (rain date Wednesday, 3/31 at 1 pm).

I’m working with high schools, the NYC Parks Dept., and other stakeholders to find outdoor spaces for school graduation ceremonies. High schools can request outdoor graduation space though the Parks Dept. here or can email my education policy analyst, Shawn Jean-Louis, to discuss what they’re looking for in a space.

As you may recall, I served as chair of the City Council’s Technology Committee, and learned more than I ever thought possible about the ways corporations have taken over technology. Starting April 26, T-Mobile (including Sprint customers who joined as part of a merger) will start selling your personal web browsing history and mobile-app data usage to third parties. Read this Ars Technica story to find out more, including how to opt out of this policy.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and NYC Director of Federal Affairs Rebecca Kagan Sternhell joined this morning’s (3/18) Manhattan Borough Board meeting to discuss the federal relief headed to NYC from the American Rescue Plan, including aid to K-12 schools, a broadband subsidy, and reimbursements from FEMA for pandemic expenses. If you missed it, you can watch the meeting here.

Community Board group Zoom interviews kicked off this week. Now through Sunday (3/21), we’re immersing over 700 CB applicants in budget and land use simulations similar to the problems that Community Boards deal with. After evaluating all the applicants, I’ll make appointments this spring in consultation with local Council members.


The IRS has extended the federal tax-filing deadline to Monday, 5/17.  (This does not apply to 2021 estimated tax payments; those payments are still due Thursday, 4/15.) I would bet that New York State will follow suit, but there has been no official announcement yet.

The American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden last week not only included $1,400 payments to taxpayers (track your payment here), and per-child subsidies, but also included a retroactive change in tax rules for unemployment benefits received in 2020, making the first $10,200 exempt from taxation for tax filers making less than $150,000. This article from The City explains how to extend your unemployment benefits through September 6.

All vaccine-eligible individuals in households with homebound members, and their home health aides, can be vaccinated during an in-home appointment for that homebound individual. Request an in-home vaccination here or by calling 877-829-4692. FDNY personnel will then call to confirm the homebound individual’s eligibility and schedule the appointment; on that call, make sure to request in-home vaccination for other eligible household members (eligibility criteria listed here).

Artists and arts organizations can now get funding or performance opportunities from the City and the federal government. Read on for details:

  • Open Culture program – Artists can apply for outdoor performance permits on these streets through Sunday, 10/31 and can charge admission.

  • Cultural Development Fund – Grants for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Applications close Monday, 4/12.

  • Federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVO) – Applications open Thursday, 4/1 for companies and nonprofits that operate live-performance venues, talent/management agencies, and others for up to $10 million in relief from the Save our Stages Act in the December stimulus bill via the U.S. Small Business Administration. ​See eligibility criteria here. Applicants can get help preparing their applications from the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services’ Curtains Up program. Applicants can apply for a SVO grant even if they’ve previously received Paycheck Protection Program loans (the PPP amount will be deducted from the SVO grant).

The police barricades surrounding Columbus Circle have finally been removed after nine months. Long after protest threats passed, the circle remained unnecessarily barricaded, blocking pedestrian access and surrounding bike lanes.

Indoor fitness classes can resume at 33% capacity starting Monday (3/22), the Governor announced. I asked the Mayor to make this change last month, citing the unfairness of gyms opening in September while boutique fitness studios that offer classes like yoga, cycling, and pilates had to remain closed.

Free kosher-for-Passover Grab and Go meals will be available Friday, 3/26 – Monday, 4/5, at P.S. 75 (735 West End Ave.) and P.S. 48 – P.O. Michael J. Buczek⁠ (4360-78 Broadway):

  • 3/26: 3-5 pm

  • 3/29 – 4/2: noon – 3 pm

  • 4/5: 3-5 pm

Domestic travelers to New York State will no longer be required to quarantine upon arrival beginning Thursday, 4/1, the Governor announced. Anyone entering NYS from abroad, though, will still have to quarantine or test out of quarantine.

COVID News Clippings

The Covid-19 stimulus bill, explained in 600 words
Here’s what the bill tries to do — and what’s actually in it.
By German Lopez,, March 6, 2021

Vaccinated lives: 5 health experts revel in simple pleasures
They talk about navigating risk and the joys of hugging friends, dining out and even getting their hair cut
By Lena H. Sun, Washington Post, March 10, 2021

27 entertainers on the disbelief and despair that took over when covid-19 shut down their world
By Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, March 10, 2021

In the shadow of its exceptionalism, America fails to invest in the basics
In recent months in the U.S., historic breakthroughs have come alongside monumental failures of infrastructure and health care.
By Griff Witte, Abigail Hauslohner, and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Washington Post, March 13, 2021

17 Reasons to Let the Economic Optimism Begin
A reporter who has tracked decades of gloomy trends sees things lining up for roaring growth.
By Neil Irwin, The Upshot, NY Times, March 13, 2021

Small Piece of the Stimulus Has Ambitious Aim of Saving Mothers’ Lives
The expansion of Medicaid is an effort to address the highest maternal death rate among wealthy nations.
By Sarah Kliff, NY Times, March 14, 2021

How Cuomo investigation, possible impeachment could play out
By Michael R. Sisak and Marina Villeneuve, Associated Press, March 14, 2021

China finds first cases of new coronavirus variant in Guangdong province
By Kinling Lo, South China Post, March 15, 2021

The White House is set to unveil a wide-reaching, billion-dollar campaign aimed at convincing every American to get vaccinated
By Lev Facher,  March 15, 2021

This Is The Last Fun Thing You Did In Pre-Pandemic NYC
By Jen Carlson,, March 15, 2021


As a reminder, Obamacare/ACA enrollment has been extended through Saturday, 5/15. Apply through the New York State marketplace or directly through insurers. If you have questions, make an appointment with a local marketplace navigator, who can help individuals, families, and small businesses choose an affordable plan.

The Housing Lottery at Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village for 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments is open through Wednesday, 3/31. Apply here.

Beginning next Thursday (3/25), the Intrepid Museum reopens. Admission is by timed ticket, Thursday to Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm, and capacity will be limited to 25%. Admission is free for EBT cardholders and up to three guests with the presentation of photo ID.

Tech kits for performing artists are now available through New York Public Library grab-and-go locations. Click here to learn about the kits (which include audio- and video-recording equipment) and how to borrow one.

Apply by Monday (3/22) to be prioritized for grants up to $10,000 to fund resident-led community-building projects, sponsored by the Citizens Committee for NYC.

Applications close Monday (3/22) for the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service, a paid, nine-month, graduate student emergency management fellowship with a NYC government agency or nonprofit. Apply here.

Teens 14-19 years old can apply to become Harlem Youth Gardeners, assisting with gardening and park maintenance in Jackie Robinson, Marcus Garvey, Morningside, and St. Nicholas Parks. The position runs Saturdays, 8 am – 4 pm from 3/27 – 5/15, paying $18 per hour, sponsored by Friends of Morningside Park. Apply here.


Community-based organizations or M/WBE certified owned businesses are invited to submit a request for information to become TRIE Neighborhood Coordinators with the City’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion & Equity. Neighborhood coordinators will serve the 33 neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID and will help reduce equity gaps for communities of color, strengthen neighborhood coalitions, and promote stronger recovery from COVID-19. Click the link for more details and information on submissions, due Monday, 3/29.

Applications close Wednesday, 3/31 for $10,000 research grants from the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. Apply here.

Little Island in Hudson River Park is hiring for several year-round and seasonal positions. See the job postings here.

NYCHA Polo Grounds residents ages 14-24 can now apply to the “Map to $uccess” Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Through the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club there will be project-based learning activities for 14- and 15-year-olds with a $700 stipend, and youth ages 16-24 can work 25 hours per week at $15 an hour, remotely or in person. Apply here and enter PIN MS-91018-PG.

Nominations close Friday, 4/30 for the Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics in New York City Public High Schools from the Fund for the City of New York. Seven math and science teachers will each receive $5,000, and their department will receive $2,500. Nominate an outstanding teacher here.

Applications close Saturday, 5/1 for $40,000 William Greaves Fund grants for mid-career nonfiction filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities, sponsored by Firelight Media. Apply here.

Lincoln Center is now posting free streams of past productions, starting with 2012’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” available through Sunday, 4/11.


Tonight (3/18) at 7 pm, Dr. Anthony Fauci joins the Human Rights Campaign virtual town hall to answer the LGBTQ community’s questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and address concerns and medical mistrust. Email to register.

Tonight (3/18) at 7 pm, virtual panel “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Food Justice” features the diversity of careers, research, and practice being done on food research across Columbia University. Click the title to register.

Tonight (3/18) at 7:30 pm, art exhibit “In/Out – Light/Dark: Women in the Heights and Art in Our Time” opens with a virtual reception. Join the Zoom here, hosted by the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance.

Weekdays through Friday, 3/26 from 8 am – 6 pm, New Yorkers 60+ can get vaccinated at Vision Urbana’s pop-up site (266 East Broadway co-op community room space). Make an appointment here.

Friday (3/19) at 10 am, Citizens Housing and Planning Council hosts a virtual panel on how equitable building code enforcement can contribute to a more just city. Register here.

Friday (3/19) at 11 am, virtual panel “Adapting Historic Districts for an Equitable Future: SoHo/NoHo Case Study” is hosted by the American Institute of Architects New York. Click the title to register.

Friday (3/19) at 5 pm, the Frick Collection continues its virtual “Cocktails with a Curator” series, highlighting Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait” and drinking whisky sours. Watch on YouTube.

Friday (3/19) at 5:30 pm, the virtual “Equitable Recovery Agenda for New York” series continues with “The Intersection of Climate Justice and Economic Justice,” sponsored by Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. Register here.

Friday (3/19) at 7 pm, free concert “Music Connects: Celebrating Women through Music” honors Women’s History Month with music written by and for women, sponsored by Midori & Friends. Register here.

Sunday (3/21) at 10 am, I’m partnering on a community clean-up of the Broadway malls from 96th – 106th Sts. with the Broadway Mall Association (meet at Metro Diner, 100th St. and Broadway). Email to register.

Sunday (3/21) at 2 pm is the annual FMDG Music School “Performathon.” FMDG is an independent music school working with students who are blind or visually impaired. RSVP to

Monday (3/22) at 3 pm, I’m joining a panel on women’s health disparities in East Harlem organized by Union Settlement and COVID vaccine-maker Pfizer. Stream on MNN’s Facebook.

Tuesday (3/23) at 3:45 pm, the NYC Youth Climate Summit features a virtual panel discussing career paths in sustainability, hosted by the NYC Dept. of Education’s Office of Sustainability. Click the link to register. Thursday (3/25) at 1 pm, the Office continues its “Meet the Experts” series with “Why Food Matters,” featuring Stephen O’Brien of the DOE’s Office of Food and Nutrition. Click the title to register.

Tuesday (3/23) at 4 pm, “Fierce Women Podcasters” discusses emerging Afro-Latinx podcasting voices in the U.S. working to create more visibility for their communities and experiences, hosted by New York Women in Film and Television. Click the title to register.

Tuesday (3/23) at 5 pm, “Supporting Families with Stress Management During Remote Learning” is the topic of the weekly virtual “Parent Guide to Remote Learning” series from Rep. Adriano Espaillat and the NYC Dept. of Education. Register here.

Tuesday (3/23) at 5:30 pm, virtual tour “Bloomingdale in 1940: A Tour of Our Neighborhood Then and Now” is sponsored by the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group. Click the title to join the Zoom.

Tuesday (3/23) and Thursday (3/25) at 6 pm, parents are invited to a virtual info session about the Gifted & Talented program, for which applications close Friday, 4/9. Join the Zooms here, or click here for information about Russian, Koren, French, Bangala, Mandarin, and Spanish translation.

Wednesday (3/24) at 4 pm, Battery Dance hosts a virtual kids introductory improvisational dance class. Register here.

Wednesday (3/24) at 6 pm, join the first public meeting of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Battery project, which will discuss reconstructing the deteriorating wharf promenade to also help protect the Battery from rising seas in coming years. Register for the Zoom here, sponsored by the NYC Economic Development Corporation and NYC Parks.

Wednesday (3/24) at 7 pm, learn or brush up on your local tree species identification skills during “Reacquainting Yourself with the Native & Urban Trees of Roosevelt Island with Master Naturalist Carey Russell,” presented by iDig2Learn. Click the title to register for the Zoom.

Next Thursday (3/25) at 6 pm is a virtual commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Register here.

Next Thursday (3/25) at 6 pm, kids are invited to a virtual interactive challenge, “Jessie and Bo Peep’s Carnival Quest: The Big Toy Rescue,” hosted by Bloomingdale School of Music. Click the title to register.

Next Thursday (3/25) at 7 pm, the virtual “Envisioning Alternatives to Policing” series continues with a session about potential changes to mental health interventions, hosted by the Museum of the City of New York. Click the title to register.

Next Thursday (3/25) at 7 pm, Hi-ARTS hosts a Q&A about the COVID vaccine for people of color, featuring a Black medical professional, Dr. Risha Irvin. Register here or stream on YouTube or Facebook.

Stay Safe.