NYC Public Advocate Releases Covid-19 Second Wave Response Recommendations
NEW YORK: As New York City faces a rise in COVID-19 cases and approaches a 3% citywide positivity rate, Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has released a paper entitled ‘In The Event of a Second Wave‘ which contains a series of recommendations for city, state, federal, and individual actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the exponential rise in cases and casualties seen in New York City at the start of the pandemic.
“As cases rise across the country spike to new highs, here in New York City it is now undeniable that we are seeing the rise of a second wave – but its outcome is not inevitable.,” said Public Advocate Williams. “In order to prevent the level of pain and devastation that was inflicted by the compounding public health and economic crises in the spring, we have to learn from our mistakes and be proactive. On both governing and individual levels, we need to take responsibility and take action to slow the spread and save lives. We have seen the worst of this pandemic in New York, and we cannot allow it to return with the second wave. The quicker and more decisively we act now, the less pain we will see in the long term.”
‘In The Event of a Second Wave‘ analyzes the response to and impact of COVID-19 across a range of areas including the economy , education, housing, transportation, and the workforce. It uses the shortcoming in initial response to map a path forward in combating the rise of a second wave of coronavirus in New York.
In the report, the Public Advocate recommends the swift and orderly closure of non-essential indoor businesses such as gyms, nail and hair salons, and houses of worship, in addition to shutting down indoor dining. In order to support those small businesses amid closure, he calls for the federal government to finally provide the level of local relief necessary – in particular with a new federal administration taking office in the coming months. To further procure funding to support struggling New York small businesses and their employees, he calls on Governor Cuomo to support revenue raising measures from billionaires who have profited during the pandemic amid a budget crisis. He also reiterates his call for New York City to be granted long-term borrowing authority.
Public Advocate Williams recommends that the city immediately prepare for the potential and likely imminent closure of the majority of school buildings. In order to facilitate a smoother transition to full remote learning, the city should immediately provide all students with remote learning devices – which still has not occurred eight months after remote learning began. He also calls for the expansion of Regional Enrichment Centers for students of greatest need to receive instruction outside of the home.
The report analyzes the initial response to COVID-19 and finds several crucial shortcomings which helped to exacerbate the crisis. While many relate to having little information early regarding the virus itself, the analysis also makes clear that political fights and posturing have had a detrimental impact on the city and state’s coronavirus response. Public Advocate Williams calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to present a singular, united message about the severity of this increase in cases, the imperative to reduce the spread, and the concrete steps to accomplish this goal.
Critically, the Public Advocate also asks all New Yorkers to combat so-called “COVID fatigue” which has led to a reduction in adherence to public health measures including masks and social distancing. With Thanksgiving approaching, it is critical to celebrate in one’s home rather than travel or to host or attend large gatherings. He calls for a re-commitment to the simple sacrifices all New Yorkers can make to protect themselves and each other.
The full report is available on the Public Advocate’s website.