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COVID Newsletters

Weekly update (11/24)


It’s Wednesday, November 24, 2021. Welcome to my weekly update.

New York City’s COVID positivity rate is now 2.13%, up from 1.88% last week. Those interested in diving more deeply into local COVID statistics can check the NYC Dept. of Health website or’s COVID tracker.

To be fully vaccinated in time for holiday get-togethers, keep these deadlines in mind:

  • Christmas: J&J shot by Saturday, 12/11

  • Kwanzaa: J&J shot by Sunday, 12/12

  • New Year’s Eve: first Pfizer shot by THIS FRIDAY (11/26) or J&J shot by Friday, mE12/17

  • It’s too late to be fully vaccinated for Chanukah, which starts this Sunday (11/28)– but getting a shot ASAP will still provide some protection.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, get boosted. Find a vaccine site here.

It’s also wise to get tested before or after holiday gatherings, even if you’re vaccinated. (In Michigan during their current surge, 28% of hospitalizations and 24% of deaths are among vaccinated people.) Today’s (11/24) NY Times’ “The Morning” newsletter by David Leonhardt offers this guide to testing during the Thanksgiving weekend. Find a nearby testing site here.


I hope you can join me and my staff for a year-end Manhattan Borough President’s office reception on Sunday, 12/12 from 2–4 pm in the John Jay College atrium (524 W. 59th St.). We’ll have refreshments, music, and holiday cheer. All are welcome– RSVP here if you can. Proof of vaccination and masks required.

Únase a nosotros para una fiesta el domingo 12 de diciembre, de 2 a 4 en el atrio en John Jay College, 524 W. 59th St. Se requiere comprobante de vacunación y mascarillas. Registrese aqui:

I’m co-sponsoring a toy drive with the Men of the Divine Nine— see the gift registry here. Drop off gifts on Thursday, 12/16 from 6–10 pm at Tito’s BBQ Station (348 Malcolm X Blvd.). Gifts will be distributed to the children and family members at Harlem Hospital, New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and the Harriet Tubman Harlem Residence Homeless Shelter.

Ever since chairing the Technology Committee on the City Council 20 years ago, I’ve been something of a tech geek. And I’ve continued it as Borough President, partnering with BetaNYC since 2014, a public interest technology organization that specializes in solutions that make government use data better and be more transparent for its citizens.

Together, we’ve helped the Housing Data Coalition (HDC), a group of tenant and housing activists, liberate data from the NYS Office of Court Administration, which houses the records of all Housing Court cases.

I’m glad to say their work is paying off. Right to Counsel, a coalition of more than 25 housing justice organizations, for example, actively uses this information on the ground to help people stay in their homes.

Next month, HDC and my office will be hosting trainings on anti-displacement tenant protection tools to meet the challenges of the expiration of the state eviction ban on January 15, 2022.

Share your thoughts about the Open Restaurants program through this survey from the NYC Dept. of Transportation (DOT). What are your priorities for the permanent Open Restaurants program, and how can the it create dining setups that are safe, accessible, equitable, and good neighbors? Complete the survey by Friday, 12/31. To discuss Open Restaurants and get your feedback, DOT representatives will be at my virtual Manhattan Vaccine and Recovery Task Force on Tuesday, December 7 at 3 pm. To join the Zoom, email in advance of the meeting.


The “Build Back Better” (BBB) legislation that passed the House and was sent to the Senate last Friday (11/19) carries so many provisions it’s head-spinning.

Prime among provisions for our area is closing the funding gap in the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which will prevent cuts in services to injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors, thanks to the efforts of Manhattan Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, along with New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone and Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Also of interest is the tax deduction for state and local taxes known as SALT: the $10,000 cap on deductions begun in the Trump Administration has been raised– to $80,000 a year through 2030.

But almost every aspect of the BBB bill will have an impact locally. Here’s a roundup, courtesy of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities nonprofit.

If you’d like to read more analysis, this Times story is illuminating: Painful Changes in Society Eased Passage of Bold Safety Net Measure (subscription needed).

Family Benefits ($585 billion)

  • Establish an affordable child care program (6 years) ($270 billion)

  • Establish a paid family and medical leave program ($205 billion)

  • Provide universal pre-K to all three- and four-year-olds (6 years) ($110 billion)

Climate and Infrastructure ($570 billion)

  • Invest in clean energy and climate resilience ($235 billion)

  • Establish or expand clean energy and electric tax credits ($190 billion)

  • Establish or expand clean fuel and vehicle tax credits ($60 billion)

  • Establish or expand other climate-related tax benefits ($75 billion)

  • Enact infrastructure and related tax breaks ($10 billion)

Individual Tax Credits and Cuts ($215 billion)

  • Extend Child Tax Credit (CTC) increase to $3,000 ($3,600 for kids under 6) for one year amd make CTC fully refundable permanently ($190 billion)

  • Extend expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for one year ($15 billion)

  • Other individual tax changes ($10 billion)

Health Care ($330 billion)

  • Strengthen Medicaid home- and community-based services ($150 billion)

  • Extend expanded Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits and make premium tax credits available to those in Medicaid coverage gap through 2025 ($120 billion)

  • Establish Medicare hearing benefit ($35 billion)

  • Invest in the health care workforce ($25 billion)

Other Spending and Tax Cuts ($335 billion)

  • Build and support affordable housing ($175 billion)

  • Increase higher education and workforce spending ($40 billion)

Other spending and investments ($120 billion)

  • Reduce or delay TCJA base broadening ($280 billion)

  • Increase SALT deduction cap to $80,000 through 2030 ($275+ billion)

  • Delay amortization of research and experimentation expenses until 2026 ($5 billion)

Enact Immigration Reform ($110 billion)

The following provisions will be used to pay for the law:

Increase Corporate Taxes (-$830 billion) 

  • Impose a 15% minimum tax on large domestic corporations (-$320 billion)

  • Impose a 15% global minimum tax and reform international taxation (-$280 billion)

  • Impose a 1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks (-$125 billion)

  • Enact other corporate tax reforms (-$105 billion)

Increase Individual Taxes on High Earners (-$640 billion)

  • Expand the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (-$250 billion)

  • Impose a 5% surtax on income above $10 million and an 8% surtax on income above $25 million (-$230 billion)

  • Extend and expand limits on deductibility of business losses (-$160 billion)

Other Revenue (-$180 billion)

  • Reduce the tax gap by funding IRS and other measures (-$130 billion)

  • Reinstate superfund taxes on oil and impose methane fee (-$20 billion)

  • Expand nicotine taxes (-$10 billion)

  • Reform tax treatment of retirement accounts (-$10 billion)

  • Other receipts (-$10 billion)

Health Care -$325 billion

  • Repeal Trump Administration drug rebate rule (-$145 billion)

  • Reform Medicare Part D formula, cap drug price growth, and allow targeted drug price negotiations (-$160 billion)

  • Reduce Medicare DSH payments beyond 2025 (-$20 billion)

If your trash is normally collected on Thursdays, put your trash on the curb after 4 pm on Thanksgiving (11/25) for Sanitation to pick up after service resumes the next day. There will be no recycling collection on Thanksgiving (11/25), so wait to put recycling out until next Thursday (12/2).

Applications are now open for the Home Energy Assistance Program, a government subsidy for fuel, utility sources, heating equipment replacement, and repairs. Click the link to determine your eligibility and apply.


Students with IEPs can get free one-on-one tutoring from teacher candidates in Hunter’s Graduate Program for Learning Disabilities through the Hunter College Learning Lab. Tutoring sessions are twice a week at either Hunter College (695 Park Ave.), PS/IS 57 (175 E. 115th St.), or PS 198 (1700 3rd Ave.). Click the link above to apply.

Harlem nonprofits and community-based organizations can request to host a CUNY School of Public Health master’s student who can help with health communications projects (e.g., media production, constituent surveying, media relations). There is no cost to the host organizations, and CUNY provides modest stipends for the students. If interested in hosting a student, complete this form.

Cayuga Centers is hosting a toy drive benefiting kids in foster care through Wednesday, 12/8. See their wishlist here.

Cornell Tech is seeking adults 50+ to participate in a study about how reminders can improve adherence to a medication regimen. Participants must be able to take photos on their phone and send them via iMessage or WhatsApp. Over the course of a week, the study will ask participants to send pictures of assigned items at different times during the day. To participate, contact or 201-749-2789.

Applications are open on a rolling basis for CitizensNYC’s All In Neighborhood Grants, which award up to $5,000 for community improvement projects. Apply here.

Small theaters can apply to three grant programs through this one application from the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York. The three grants are the NYSCA-A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund, the Strengthening NYC Theatres Grants, and the New York City Small Theatres Fund. The application closes Tuesday, 12/14 at 5 pm.


Tomorrow (11/25) from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, pick up a free take-home Thanksgiving meal from the National Action Network’s House of Justice (106 W. 145th St.).

Tomorrow (11/25) from noon – 3 pm, pick up a free take-home Thanksgiving meal from Goddard Riverside (593 Columbus Ave. at 88th St.).

Spend Small Business Saturday (11/27) from noon – 2 pm at the East Harlem “Holiday Pop-up Market” at Santiago’s Beer Garden (2337 1st Ave.). There will be local authors, artists and artisans, refreshments, and music, hosted by the Union Settlement Business Development Center.

Monday (11/29) from 2–7 pm, ice skate for free as Manhattan West Plaza (9th Ave./33rd St.) celebrates its opening. There will be free refreshments and an opportunity to take a picture with the Stanley Cup.

Monday (11/29) at 7 pm is a virtual open house for the Harlem Fashion Week “Kids: Model Bootcamp & Competition,” an opportunity for aspiring elementary-, middle-, and high-school models of all genders to participate in training and development opportunities. Register here.

Tuesday (11/30) from 8:30 – 11:30 am, virtual event “Branches of Recovery: Harnessing New York’s Public Libraries to Ensure an Inclusive Recovery and Rebuild a More Equitable City” features 15 prominent speakers discussing how to make New York’s branch libraries a centerpiece of the social infrastructure needed to cultivate a recovery for all. Click the title to register for the event, hosted by Center for an Urban Future.

Tuesday (11/30) at 5 pm at 73rd St. and Broadway is the Verdi Square “Winter Lighting Ceremony,” featuring seasonal lights along the Broadway malls, refreshments, and performances by the Reaching For the Arts Children’s Choir, hosted by the Broadway Mall Association.

Landmark High School is holding two open houses for prospective 9th and 10th graders on Wednesday (12/1 at 5 pm, virtually) and Thursday (12/2 at 5:30 pm at 351 W. 18th St., 4th floor). Register here.

Wednesday (12/1) at 6:30 pm, webinar “Grant’s Tomb: The president’s final year and how his tomb came to the Upper West Side” features Grant scholar and author Louis L. Picone discussing the origins of the memorial and its design, the struggle to finance and build it over the course of 12 years, and the turbulent history of the Tomb and Grant’s reputation up to recent times. Event sponsor Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group (BNHG) will also honor Caitlin Hawke with the Torain Award in recognition of her dedication to BNHG and preserving the Upper West Side’s history. Join the Zoom here.

Thursdays 12/2 and 12/9 from noon – 5 pm, donate new, unwrapped toys to Speaker Corey Johnson’s annual toy drive (224 W. 30th St., Suite 1206). Gifts for kids of all ages are needed.

News Clippings

What Happens After the Worst of the Pandemic Is Behind Us?
“… the pandemic has proved to be a nearly two-year stress test that the United States flunked …
By Zeynep Tufekci, NY Times Opinion, Nov. 18, 2021

C.D.C. Endorses Covid Vaccine Booster Shots for All Adults
By Apoorva Mandavilli, NY Times, Nov. 19, 2021

How to Get a Coronavirus Booster Shot in New York City
New Yorkers can get coronavirus vaccine booster shots at a number of places, including pop-up vans, churches, local pharmacies and community health clinics.
By Precious Fondren and Lola Fadulu, NY Times, Nov. 20, 2021

Treatments will change the pandemic, but they can’t end it alone
Antiviral pills will be a key part of a large toolkit needed to manage the coronavirus, not a silver bullet
By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Washington Post, Nov. 21, 2021

Daily coronavirus cases up 18 percent, according to CDC director
By Lateshia Beachum, Annabelle Timsit, and Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, Nov. 22, 2021

Here’s The Deal On The New Pills For Treating COVID
Here’s how COVID pills from Merck and Pfizer work, and how and when you might be able to take them once they become available.
By Theresa Tamkins, BuzzFeed News, Nov. 22, 2021

Covid antivirals could be pandemic game-changers. But Americans might struggle to access them
Within three days, could you get an appointment with your doctor, get Covid-19 test results, and fill a prescription? If Americans can’t pull that off, then Covid-19 antivirals could struggle to make a real difference
By Lev Facher,, Nov. 23, 2021

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trial data confirms high efficacy, long-term protection in adolescents
“…A two-dose series of the [Pfizer] vaccine proved to be 100 percent effective against the coronavirus, measured seven days to over four months after the second dose…”
By Paulina Villegas, Washington Post, Nov. 23, 2021

At-home Covid-19 tests are getting better. Experts say: Stock up for winter.
New tests promise lab-quality results in under an hour — all without having to get up off your couch.
By Sigal Samuel,, Nov. 23, 2021

As always, get in touch if you have a problem or concern we can help address: 212-669-8300 or

Stay safe and enjoy the holiday.