New Yorkers have made great progress fighting back against the Covid-19 pandemic, and now is the time to put needed protections in place that will help ensure that we don’t take steps backward. We experienced how frustrating and dangerous it was to have to shut down again during the omicron variant’s peak, with neighbors experiencing long waits for testing and days without a result. That must not happen again, and this plan will help prevent that.
Get our Booster Rates up with Proactive Scheduling
Launch a Get Boosted campaign, providing every New Yorker who isn’t vaccinated with a text, email, and postcard with an appointment and location for a booster shot. This campaign should include walk-in appointments and should give New Yorkers who get boosted a $100 incentive. Priority implementation of the program should be for neighborhoods that were hardest hit during previous Covid waves.
Make High-quality Masks Standard and Ubiquitous in Every Building
Every person should have access to free high-quality masks in every building, and the City should supply small businesses and local nonprofits with free masks. We must take our respiratory hygiene seriously.
Provide Every New Yorker with a Covid Safety Bag
These bags should include high-quality masks, a thermometer, rapid test kits, hand sanitizer, a pulse oximeter for individuals at high risk of serious disease, and information in multiple languages about how to connect with local healthcare providers and the City’s antiviral distribution program. Frontline essential workers and communities hardest hit by the pandemic should be prioritized in the roll-out of this program.
Improve Data Collection and Remain Vigilant for Early Warning Signs
- Establish and fund a program for the City to continuously monitor disease in a sample of households, long-term care facilities, and shelters across the City. This program should be opt-in but should also provide incentives to get New Yorkers to participate. A sample in each community could help track community spread early.
- Build infrastructure for self-reporting of at-home rapid tests so that local health experts have information to guide decision-making.
- Utilize and publicly share wastewater data to identify the new waves and variants before high community spread begins.
- Incorporate data on emergency room visits, hospital capacity, virus levels in wastewater, and test positivity rates into the Mayor’s color-coded system.
Work Toward a Full Recovery for All
The City should work to deeply understand the intersectionality of Covid’s impact on New York communities and should use data about race, ethnicity, language spoken, housing status, employment, and income to surge resources to underserved and high-risk communities.