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COVID Newsletters

Weekly COVID newsletter (4/1)

I’ve taken the content from these newsletters and classified them into five categories to be more user-friendly. Check the top of my website,, to find almost everything I’ve heard during the COVID-19 crisis on food, money, the arts, education, and donations and volunteering.


It’s Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

At press time, the Johns Hopkins COVID case tracker currently shows New York City has 46,300 active cases and 1,139 deaths.

Here’s the link to view the archive of Monday’s “virtual” Education Town Hall that was missing yesterday.

This Friday, April 3, 2020, at 3 pm, my office will join with the Arts and Culture Committee of The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance to convene a special teleconference for locally-based arts and culture organizations, independent artists, galleries, and venues to discuss managing the impact of Covid-19. The Friday teleconference will be held via ZOOM on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 3 pm. Here is more detail on the call and call-in directions. (corrected link).  If you’d like to help promote our call on your social networks, please use this shortlink:

Today is Census Day 2020, and since I don’t believe that we in government should ask anyone else to do something we ourselves aren’t willing to do, I’m proud to announce that my staff has achieved a 100% response rate to the 2020 census questionnaire!

I’ll confess I got a little nudge-ey with them, because the funding and policies that flow from the Census is crucial to New York City and State. Our city is notoriously hard to count, and this year could be particularly difficult since the draconian immigration policies of the Trump Administration came into force.

But the fact is that Census responses can’t be used for any purpose other than tallying up population– it’s the law. And no enumerators will be knocking on doors today. So, please, if you haven’t yet done so, take the time to fill in your form at

As of today, New York County (which is Manhattan) has achieved a 30.2% repsonse rate, according to the real-time results the Census Bureau posts at its census tracker website.  Other compliance rates for city, state and nation:
Bronx  28.0%
Kings   26.1%
Manhattan  30.2%
Queens   27.1%
Richmond  32.5%
New York City  28.0%
New York State  33.1%
U.S.A.  38.4%

If you are able, please avoid grocery shopping in the next few days and make space for our neighbors who are on SNAP and WIC to buy food. The beginning of the month is when many public assistance benefits come in; with children staying home, families’ food supplies may have depleted more quickly, making grocery shopping at the start of the new month a necessity rather than a preference. Please also be mindful of your own shopping and avoid choosing items tagged with WIC labels unless absolutely necessary.

Tomorrow at 12:15 pm, Rob Snyder, our official Manhattan Historian (and professor at Rutgers), is convening a Zoom meeting for a wide-ranging conversation about how historians can study, document and analyze the pandemic. “Our discussion will be grounded in New York City, but of course we will explore how the city fits into our state, region, nation and world,” Snyder tells me.  The Zoom meeting will be at and the meeting ID is: 281 509 628 (use that for the participant ID as well).  Or you can dial in for audio only at (646) 876 9923 using those same IDs.

(Rob also sent me this link to a NY Academy of Medicine piece on the “Germ City” exhibit that was at the Museum of the City of NY:

You know the projection that President Trump is using that calculates between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths by the time the pandemic is over?  The predictive model was developed by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Their website,, shows the curves we are all trying to flatten, and their New York page will be fascinating to any data geeks you know.

The ASPCA has established a pet food distribution center in New York City in partnership with the Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo, and PetSmart Charities to provide dog and cat owners free access to crucial food and supplies, including kitty litter.  To keep in line with social distancing guidelines, food and supplies will be available by appointment only. Pet owners should call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at (800)738-9437 to request an appointment. This includes dog and cat supplies only, and distribution is subject to eligibility and availability. Open to residents of New York City; no same-day appointments; one-hour window for pick-up, don’t come early and call if you’re running late; bring a photo ID and be prepared to carry supplies!  (DON’T bring pets!)

The NYC Office of Nightlife has extended the deadline for its COVID-19 Impact Survey for nightlife businesses, workers and freelancers. If you work in NYC nightlife, please complete the survey by Friday April 3rd so that the Office of Nightlife can best represent you and your needs. Available in 10 languages. Survey link:

Wednesday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Taft Houses. (Each weekday FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations which my office helps coordinate with NYCHA tenants’ associations.) It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

The New York Blood Center has this news:
-Their blood centers are no longer accepting walk-in customers; instead, you must make an appointment.
-If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in giving plasma, please email your information to

I hope you’re finding these newsletters helpful. Please forward them to whoever you know who would find them helpful.  And keep sending me useful links!  Feel free to call me with any urgent problems or concerns: (212) 669-8191.