MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 16, 2020

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Johnson Commends De Blasio, Cuomo for Closing Schools

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) released a statement yesterday after Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced the closure of all public schools until Apr. 20.

“I applaud Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for making the responsible decision to close our schools,” said Johnson. “We must move quickly to mitigate the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19. Bold measures like school closures are difficult but critical to keep our city safe. 

“Although necessary, school closures will bring new challenges. All of those challenges – from prioritizing child care relief for essential medical and hospital staff to ensuring services for vulnerable students who rely on schools for necessities like meals and medicine – must be swiftly addressed as we take this step. We owe it to all of our students to get this right. The City Council stands ready and willing to help in any way we can.

“This is a difficult time for our city. Let’s look out for one another during this crisis. The tough decisions we make now will help us weather this crisis in the long run.”

De Blasio Confirms First COVID-19 Death in the City

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: William Alatriste)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) made an announcement last Saturday following news of the first COVID-19 death in NYC.

The patient was an 82-year-old woman from Ridgewood, Queens with advanced emphysema. She was admitted to Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, and remained in critical condition until her death on Mar. 14.

“We’ve known from the outset that these people are the most at risk in this pandemic, and today’s news is a sad confirmation of that reality,” said de Blasio. “I want to thank the staff of Wyckoff Medical Center for their efforts to save this woman’s life, and all the medical professionals on the front lines protecting our most vulnerable. We all have a part to play here. I ask every New Yorker to do their part and take the necessary precautionary measures to protect the people most at risk.”

AG James Orders Alex Jones to Stop Selling Fraudulent Coronavirus Treatments

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
Attorney General of NY Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) delivered a cease-and-desist to radio pundit Alex Jones last Thursday, ordering him to stop marketing his products as COVID-19 treatments.

Jones has been selling creams, supplements and other products through his website infowarsstores.com, labeling them as treatments to protect and cure the coronavirus. He has fraudulently claimed, for instance, that his Superblue Toothpaste kills all viruses in the corona family “at point-blank range”. As of now, there is no FDA-approved vaccine or cure for COVID-19.

“As the coronavirus continues to pose serious risks to public health, Alex Jones has spewed outright lies and has profited off of New Yorkers’ anxieties,” said James. “Mr. Jones’ public platform has not only given him a microphone to shout inflammatory rhetoric, but his latest mistruths are incredibly dangerous and pose a serious threat to the public health of New Yorkers and individuals across the nation. If these unlawful violations do not cease immediately, my office will not hesitate to take legal action and hold Mr. Jones accountable for the harm he’s caused. Any individual, company, or entity that deceives the public and preys on innocent civilians will pay for their unlawful actions.”

Stringer Releases Statement on School Technology Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) released a statement on Saturday about the importance of facilitating remote learning for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last June, Stringer released a revision to Directive 10 allowing the Department of Education (DOE) and other City agencies to purchase tablets with capital funds. The condition was that the tablets could never leave the facilities they were purchased for; however, in light of the recent crisis, Stringer has amended the Directive, allowing students to take the tablets home during the citywide pandemic.

“My office is taking action today to amend citywide regulations on the use of tablets in city schools in order to facilitate remote learning for students,” said Stringer. “We are in a moment where aggressive action on all fronts is necessary to combat the spread of coronavirus and protect New Yorkers. In the event of school closures, many New York City households without access to broadband will require devices to continue learning.

“Under new guidance issued by my office, capital funds can now be used to acquire tablets to be taken home by students.”