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COVID Newsletters

Weekly update 9/9

Friends,

It’s Thursday, September 9, 2021. Welcome to my weekly update.

New York City’s COVID positivity rate is now 3.31%, down from 3.43% last week. Those interested in diving more deeply into COVID statistics can check the NYC Dept. of Health website or thecity.nyc’s COVID tracker. If you’re not yet vaccinated, find a vaccine site here.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said today (9/9) that the current rate of about 160,000 new infections a day is “not even modestly good control … In a country of our size, you can’t be … having 100,000 infections a day. You’ve got to get well below 10,000 before you start feeling comfortable.”

About 1,500 deaths are now being reported each day, more than at any point since March 2021. Even with the pace of vaccination increasing in recent weeks, still about 47% of Americans are not fully vaccinated— even though 177 million Americans are fully vaccinated,

Children– defined in various ways by various public health agencies nationwide– are bearing an increasing share of the caseload (and the FDA has not yet approved vaccines for those under age 12). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association report that about 252,000 cases were added in the seven-day period ending last Thursday (9/2), the largest number of child cases in a week since the pandemic began; child cases increased exponentially, with over 750,000 cases added between August 5 and September 2. Overall, since the pandemic began, children represented 15.1% of total COVID cases; for the week ending September 2, children were 26.8% of reported cases.

Today (9/9) at 5 pm, President Biden will outline his six-point public health plan as we enter the fall. (It’s already been reported that he will announce an executive order requiring all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated and call for a global vaccine summit during the U.N. General Assembly later this month.)

I’ve compiled a list of Hurricane Ida recovery resources:

  • Manhattan Human Service Center (IS 88, 215 W. 114th St.). open for in-person assistance daily from 8 am – 8 pm – State and City agencies and nonprofits provide help with storm-related paperwork, food assistance referrals, and mental health services

  • Homeowner resources from the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development

  • File a water damage or loss claim form for damages through the NYC Comptroller’s office

  • NYS Dept. of Financial Services’ Disaster Hotline: 800-339-1759, open daily from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm – will provide residents and business owners with information regarding insurance coverage for losses, how to document losses, and how to safeguard their property

  • New York State government resource list

  • New York City government resource list, which includes insurance information; tips for businesses; guidance for cleaning after flooding and preventing mold; and assistance options for food, housing, pets, and mental health

  • If you had to abandon your car, call 311 to find out where it was towed (tow pound locations and hours here)

  • The Mayor has waived City permit fees for construction on homes damaged by flooding from Ida

Although President Biden approved NYS’s Major Disaster Declaration and will provide federal recovery funds, Manhattan is eligible only for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which reimburses the local government for damaged infrastructure. Manhattanites can’t get individual assistance from FEMA, which directly reimburses homeowners and businesses. (The other boroughs were approved for individual assistance.) If you still need assistance, contact my office at 212-669-8300.


COMMENT

I’m delighted to announce that James Katz has joined my office as Deputy Manhattan Borough President and will focus on economic development and parks. He comes from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where he was the executive vice president and played a central role in land use, real estate, and capital construction matters for that body. An attorney by training, he served previously as a senior advisor and special counsel to the NYS Attorney General, where he worked on enforcement and legislative matters related to nonprofit governance and public integrity.

This Saturday (9/11) from noon – 3 pm at P.S. 175 (175 W. 134th St.), I’m helping distribute 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies in partnership with the New York Urban League and the NAACP to central Harlem elementary and middle school students.

To celebrate the first day of school on Monday (9/13), my staff and I will be handing out my Manhattan Public School Help Guide at elementary schools across the borough– I’ll be in East Harlem at the Talented and Gifted (TAG) School for Young Scholars in East Harlem. This guide gives families a starting point for navigating the NYC Dept. of Education and whom they can contact when addressing school-specific or broader education issues.

I’m saddened by the death of Michael K. Williams– I will remember his kindness, graciousness and his leadership. His sense of community led him to promote Black art and artists in SoHo, and youth engagement uptown. He was a beautiful soul and will be missed.

Save the date! This month’s Manhattan Borough Board meeting is Thursday, 9/23 at 8:30 am (a week later than the usual third Thursday, due to Yom Kippur). Representatives from the NYC Dept. of City Planning will present on the Open Restaurants Text Amendment, and the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission will explain the timeline of their preliminary maps and public hearings. Register for the Zoom here.

I saw countless electric cars and charging stations on a trip to Israel a few years ago, so yesterday (9/8) I was thrilled to join the NYC Dept. of Transportation in unveiling the first four (of 28) electric vehicle direct current fast-charging plugs at City-owned municipal garages. This is a great step toward NYC having the largest municipal vehicle electric charging networks (which is why I passed legislation as a Council Member that created DOT’s Electric Vehicle Advisory Committee upon returning from Israel). The City has already installed some electric vehicle charging stations in Manhattan; find them here.

Artists have until this Monday (9/13) to submit artwork created during and related to the pandemic in NYC for the “Welcome Back” exhibit opening in my office’s Maggi Peyton Gallery this fall. In partnership with curator Jean Sonderand (they/them), the exhibit will be a reflection of this traumatic time and a celebration of our collective reopening. Submit your work here.

Artists and arts organizations can still fill out my Manhattan Arts Survey, an opportunity to share your experiences with relief, reopening, and recovery efforts. We welcome your recommendations for how City resources can better support your work in the arts and your missions. Respond here by Thursday, 9/30.

Save the date! The MTA will hold virtual public hearings about the proposed congestion pricing plan in the next month. The Manhattan hearings will be:

  • Thursday, 9/23 at 6 pm – for people living and/or working on 60th St. and below; register to testify or request accommodations here

  • Wednesday, 10/6 at 6 pm – for people living and/or working on 61st St. and above; register to testify or request accommodations here

All meetings can be watched via this Zoom link. (I’ve requested that Gov. Hochul appoint a Manhattan resident to the Traffic Mobility Review Board, which will make recommendations related to congestion pricing.)


NEW INFO

There will be COVID vaccines on site at 150 public schools during the first week of school (9/13–15 and 9/17) for students 12+, families, and community members. Find Manhattan school vaccine sites here. For students younger than 18, a parent or guardian must fill out a consent form, available here.

Enforcement starts Monday (9/13) of Key to NYC, the vaccination requirement for customers 12+ and employees of indoor dining, entertainment, and fitness venues. This FAQ can help business operators understand requirements, and businesses can display this sign so customers know about the vaccination requirement before entering a facility.

All employees at pre-k, child care, and after-school programs with City contracts must get vaccinated (first dose by Monday, 9/27), the Mayor announced today (9/9).

NYC Parks recreation centers will reopen Monday (9/13) and are offering free one-year memberships to anyone who signs up by 12/31. Rec centers are now open for previews, offering the chance to stop by, see demonstrations, and get acquainted with center amenities. Find your local rec center here.

Monday (9/17) at 7 pm, join Community Board 12’s Transportation Committee meeting for an update from the NYC Dept. of Transportation about the design proposal to transform the Dyckman Open Street into a pedestrian plaza. RSVP to 212-568-8500 or ebsmith@cb.nyc.gov to get the meeting information.

An affordable housing lottery has opened for apartments at 325 E. 25th St. open to people making $48,755–$177,210/year depending on household size. Apply through NYC Housing Connect here by Friday, 9/24.

Seeking host organizations: The new Climate Justice Fellowship from the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority partners with employers to hire full-time fellows to advance climate justice projects in disadvantaged communities. Employers have until Thursday, 10/28 at 3 pm to apply to host a fellow, who must come from a disadvantaged community (Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and Upper Manhattan) or from priority populations– people who are are low income, disabled, homeless, formerly incarcerated, residents of environmental justice communities, veterans, and Native Americans. Learn more and apply here.


ANNOUNCEMENTS

MIT’s biology department has updated their class on “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic” from last fall, featuring guest lecturers like Anthony Fauci and CDC director Rochelle Walensky, and it’s streaming every Wednesday at 9 am. Here’s the syllabus. All the classes are free to stream and archived on YouTube.

New Yorkers can expand their skills through New York State’s free online learning platform and the SUNY for All Online Training Center.

Businesses facing downturns or seasonal adjustments can avoid layoffs by applying to the NYS Dept. of Labor’s Shared Work Program, which allows employees to receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Apply here.

Harlem residents 18+ can get a $20 Amazon gift card when they complete a Harlem community needs assessment survey, which will help researchers develop community-based programming and services to address the economic, social, health, and mental health impact of COVID on Harlem. The study is a partnership between Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, the CUNY School of Public Health Harlem Health Initiative, and the CUNY Center for Innovation in Mental Health.

Applications close Tuesday (9/14) at 5 pm for the Manhattan Arts Grants of up to $10,000 from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

The Fund for Public Health in New York City has issued an RFP for their Public Health Corps COVID-19 Disparities Initiative. The fund is seeking proposals to reduce COVID racial/ethnic disparities by building public health capacity in partnership with community-based organizations in the most disinvested neighborhoods across the city. Apply by Friday, 9/17.

I’ve heard about dozens of job openings and opportunities:

Cayuga Centers is seeking foster parents. Learn more here.

The Archivist Round Table of Metropolitan New York is seeking participants for its 1-1 Mentorship Program, which matches experienced archivists with students and emerging professionals. Mentors provide guidance about job searching, contract negotiations, networking, work-life balance, and professional specializations. Apply here to be a mentor and here to be a mentee. Applications are due Friday, 9/24.

Community organizations can connect New Yorkers to HIV prevention services through the Institute for Family Health, which can schedule patients’ medical appointments for PreP, assist with benefits, and provide health education. Contact Gianne Gerena for more information: 917-658-9716 or ggerena@institute.org.


EVENTS

Tonight (9/9) from 4–10 pm at 135th St. and 12th Ave. is the Uptown Night Market, featuring 50 food and merchandise vendors, a vaccine pop-up site, live performances, raffles, and giveaways, organized by the MASC Hospitality GroupWest Harlem Development Corporation, and the Harlem Arts Alliance (I’ll be presenting HAA a proclamation this evening in honor of its 20th anniversary).

Today (9/9) until 6 pm and Friday (9/10) from 11 am – 6 pm in the Lincoln Center Atrium (61 W. 62nd St.), people 18–44 can see if they’re a stem cell or bone marrow match for a four-year-old New Yorker who is in need of a transplant while battling leukemia and is the son of a NYPD detective; NYPD 20th Precinct Commanding Officer Neil Zuber organized the drive. Joining the Be The Match Registry involves taking a painless cheek swab to determine if you’re a match for someone in need.

Tonight (9/9) at 5 pm at Hamilton-Madison House (50 Madison St.) is a public input session about potential structural changes in the City Charter to achieve racial equity, hosted by the NYC Racial Justice Commission. Register here.

Tonight (9/9) at 6 pm, parents and caregivers are invited to the webinar “From Anxiety to Vaccines: Navigating the New School Year with Confidence” about issues related to pediatric COVID, how to speak with children about their anxieties linked to going back to school, wellness, and nutrition. Click the title to register for the event, hosted by Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian.

Tonight (9/9) at 7 pm, “Can I Recycle This?” author Jennie Romer discusses recycling best practices and reducing single-use plastics at the Good Shepherd Chapel (543 Main St., Roosevelt Island), hosted by the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and the NY Public Library. To register, email iDig2Learn@gmail.com and write“Reduce” in the subject line.

Be #FDNYSmart about using and disposing of lithium-ion batteries in devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets. Learn more in this FDNY public service announcement.

Friday (9/10) from 9 am – 5 pm is a walk-in vaccine pop-up site at 100 Centre St., room 1013 for people 12+. You can also get vaccinated on Friday from noon–5 pm at a pop-up site outside Tweed Courthouse (52 Chambers St.). Find other vaccine sites here.

Friday (9/10) at 2 pm, nonprofit Housing Court Answers hosts a Zoom about the procedures and changes to be expected as housing court moves forward toward in-person services, led by Citywide Supervising Judge for the NYC Housing Court Jean T. Schneider. Register here.

Fridays at 3 pm through 9/17, take free tango lessons in Sutton Place Park, hosted by Strictly Tango NYC Dance School, Council Member Ben Kallos, and the Parks Department. Register here.

Friday (9/10) from 4–7 pm, watch the mini-docuseries “process: 20 years since,” which features the stories of 10 young South Asian Americans, each of whom narrates their paths to understanding community, learning, and action as the diaspora’s first adult generation born exclusively in a post-9/11 world. Get tickets here to watch at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South), produced by South Asian Americans Leading Together.

Friday (9/10) from 5–9 pm is “Love Day” at the Clinton Houses (120 E. 110th St.) featuring free refreshments and music, hosted by East Harlem youth nonprofit SCAN-Harbor.

Friday (9/10) at 7 pm in Bryant Park, watch excerpts of the musical “Langston in Harlem” and the play “A Harlem Dream” during the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Bryant Park Picnic Performance. No tickets are needed, but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday (9/10) at 7:45 pm, catch a free screening of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” at Samuel Seabury Playground (Lexington Ave. and E. 96th St.), hosted by the Park Department and various East Side elected officials and community groups. Register here.

Saturdays and Sundays through 10/3, Arts for Art’s annual “In Gardens” series features free music, poetry, and dance performances in the First Street Green (33 E. 1st St.) and the Children’s Magical Garden (129 Stanton St.). Click here for the schedule.

Saturday (9/11) at 8 am, stream the “Table of Silence Project 9/11,” the annual public ritual for peace conceived and choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi and performed outside Lincoln Center. Watch it on Lincoln Center’s Facebook.

Saturday (9/11) from 11 am – 2 pm, the public is invited to Seward Park for a community art project, “Morning Sky,” where they can paint their memories of the sky the morning of 9/11/2001. The paintings will be displayed in the NYPL Seward Park Branch through September in partnership with Seward Park Conservancy and Illegal Art.

Saturday (9/11) from noon – 5 pm, catch the free concert “Jazz by the Water” on Governors Island, a City Artist Corps grant presentation produced by Gwen Black Arts. Reservations are required for the Governors Island ferry.

Saturdays 9/11 and 9/18 from 1–3 pm is a free, two-part Japanese paper-making and -folding workshop at the Children’s Art Carnival (62 Hamilton Terr.), open to people 13+. Register here.

Saturday (9/11) at 8 pm, the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra hosts the free “Remembrance, Reflection, Resilience: A 9/11 Tribute Concert.” Watch online or get tickets to attend in person at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Pl.).

Saturday (9/11) at 8:30 pm is the “Children of Abraham Virtual Peace Vigil,” which commemorates 9/11 and honors activists who have stood up against hate and injustice. Click the title to register.

September is the final month of Lincoln Center’s “Restart Stages” outdoor performance series and community events. This week includes:

Monday–Wednesday (9/13–15) is the free National Small Business Week virtual summit hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration. There will be webinars, updates on resources for small businesses, and a networking chat room for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Click the link above to register.

Monday–Wednesday (9/13–15) is the French Institute Alliance Française’s “Fête de la Rentrée” fall open house, featuring free French classes, movies, an art exhibit, and a dance party. Click the link above to see the schedule and register.

Tuesday (9/14) at 2 pm, virtual panel “Diversity and Inclusion in Nursing Home Advocacy” is part of Gray Panthers NYC’s “Transformational Tuesday” webinar series. Register here.

Wednesdays at 3 pm through 9/29 in Herald Square, catch a free “Brass en Masse” concert performed by brass band Shag Horns.


News Clippings

Hospitalization rate for unvaccinated teens 10 times the rate for those vaccinated, CDC says
By Derek Hawkins, Bryan Pietsch, Adela Suliman and Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, Sept. 3, 2021

Hospitalizations for children sharply increase as Delta surges, C.D.C. studies find.
By Emma Goldberg and Emily Anthes, NY Times, Sept. 3, 2021

Worried About Breakthrough Infections? Here’s How to Navigate This Phase of the Pandemic.
If you’re vaccinated, you should think about a number of variables, including your overall health, where you live and the risks you take.
By Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times, Sept. 3, 2021

Top federal health officials warn that booster shots initially may be limited to Pfizer recipients
By Tyler Pager and Laurie McGinley, Washington Post, Sept. 3, 2021

Here’s what we know about the mu variant
Cases of the WHO-designated ‘variant of interest’ have been reported in the United States, Colombia, South Korea and parts of Europe
By Adela Suliman, Washington Post, Sept. 3, 2021

Is it Delta or waning immunity?
The summer Covid-19 breakthrough surge explained. 
By Dr. Jeremy Faust, insidemedicine.com, Sept. 5, 2021

Why a Covid-19 Vaccine for Children Is Taking So Long
By Jared S. Hopkins, Wall St. Journal, Sept. 6, 2021

One in 5,000
The real chances of a breakthrough infection.
By David Leonhardt, NY Times The Morning newsletter, Sept. 7, 2021

As experts debate boosters, vaccinated people are calling their own shots
By Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, Sept. 7, 2021

Pediatric cases surge in U.S. as students head back to school
“… pediatric coronavirus cases surpassed 250,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, according to… the American Academy of Pediatrics.”
By Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, Sept. 8, 2021

COVID-19 surge in the US: The summer of hope ends in gloom
By Matthew Perrone and Dee-ann Durbin, Associated Press, Sept. 8, 2021

A Big Delta Unknown
Is the variant more severe than earlier versions of the virus? We look at the latest data.
By David Leonhardt, NY Times The Morning newsletter, Sept. 9, 2021


As always, get in touch if you have a problem or concern we can help address: 212-669-8300 or info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

Stay safe.