NYC Council Health Committee Chair Levine Praises Leadership of Health Commissioner Barbot; Warns Against ‘Political Interference’ in City’s COVID-19 Response

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **

PRESS RELEASE FOR: August, 4th, 2020 

Contact: Winthrop Roosevelt 917-842-5748 // wroosevelt@council.nyc.gov 

New York - In response to the resignation of New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot over the de Blasio Administration’s handling of the city’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine issued the following statement:

“The departure of Dr. Oxiris Barbot as New York City’s Health Commissioner is a grave blow to the fight for public health here.  Dr. Barbot has stood up fearlessly and consistently on behalf of science, no matter how strong the opposition.  Her loss is a major setback in our fight against this pandemic.

“Public health leaders from Washington to New York City have come under intense attack during this crisis--especially when what science tells us has not been politically popular.  It is critical that New York City’s health department remains independent of political interference, and that it be free to pursue policy based on data and expertise. I fear that Dr. Barbot’s departure makes that less likely.

“New York City is fortunate to have had a leader of the caliber of Dr. Barbot at the helm of the health department during the first 6 months of this crisis.  I have been honored to work with her, and wish her much success.”

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NYC Council Health Committee Chair Levine’s Statement on the 2020 Budget

NYC Council Health Committee Chair Levine’s 

Statement on the 2020 Budget

Amidst a pandemic, economic shock, and a long-overdue reckoning on racial justice, New York City now has a budget for the fiscal year that starts tomorrow.

Coronavirus blew a $9 billion hole in our city’s budget (so far), and the federal government has steadfastly refused to come to our rescue. 

Despite these challenges, the City Council fought hard to protect the social programs that directly impact the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We succeeded in restoring summer programming, including SYEP, for 100,000 young people. We succeeded in avoiding teacher layoffs and added back 140 school social workers. We restored the vital CUNY ASAP initiative and bolstered food pantries.

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Coronavirus Update 05/20: Better Understanding Risk in the Era of COVID-19, Helping Reach Out to Our Seniors; and Recent Updates

The past two months of sheltering at home have not been easy. But it has delivered incredible results for our city, as we continue to make progress in slowing the spread of coronavirus.

And now quarantine fatigue is setting in.

Because the risk of a rebound still looms, we need to continue extraordinary measures to ensure physical distancing for the foreseeable future.  

But given the long road ahead, it’s not enough--and not realistic--to tell people they can simply have no social contact.

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Coronavirus Update 03/27: Food Resources and Latest Updates

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to accelerate in New York City, there is an increasing likelihood that you or someone close to you will start to show the tell-tale symptoms: fever, dry cough, and in some cases shortness of breath.

What should you do when that happens? The good news is that in most cases you will get better by simply resting at home, hydrating, and taking over-the-counter medication for your fever.  

I should know...because I’ve just been through it. And thankfully after several days of fever and cough, I am now improving rapidly. I am fortunate-- I did not need medical care, and most of you won’t either.

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Preguntas y Respuestas Digital con Concejal Mark Levine

Estamos trabajando duro para mantenerlos al día con la última información y recursos que están disponible. Para ayudar con este esfuerzo, el Concejal Mark Levine va a facilitar un panel de preguntas y respuestas digital por la plataforma Zoom. 

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Coronavirus Update 03/18: Need for More Aggressive Action, Online Q&A, and Latest Updates

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to gain steam in New York City, it is more important than ever that everyone remains at home if at all possible.  

Importantly, this includes people who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19, which include high fever and dry cough.  Public health experts are urging those with such symptoms to remain at home and only contact a medical provider if your condition worsens.  

It is absolutely critical that we reserve the resources of our entire healthcare system for those who are gravely ill--not those with manageable symptoms.

The number of New Yorkers who are still engaging in non-essential activities in public is alarming.  That is why I believe we need to follow the example of San Francisco and other areas and put in place even stricter mandates for non-essential businesses to close.  Despite rumors, you may have heard, at all times services like supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks will remain open.

If you are healthy, you have an important role to play in our community: offer to help elderly and high-risk neighbors do errands so that the most vulnerable do not need to leave their homes for any reason.

Tomorrow at 1:00 pm I will be hosting an online Q & A session. I hope you will join me to get an update on the latest information on the outbreak, how to access important resources and to ask important questions you have on how to keep safe during the outbreak. Please find more information about how to join below.

My team and I are here for you now for any reason. As always, stay safe & STAY AT HOME,

Mark

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Working Together While NYC Public Schools are Closed - Important Information & Resources

In the face of a looming threat from the coronavirus outbreak, New York City’s public schools will be closed as of today.  This closure will last at least through April 20th--and possibly through the end of the school year.

This move--though difficult--is critical to the city’s strategy of slowing the advance of coronavirus among New York City’s children, teachers, school workers, and the public.

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Gov. Cuomo to cut Medicaid spending for NYC amid coronavirus outbreak is a ‘spectacularly bad idea’: Levine

By SHANT SHAHRIGIAN from the Daily News

With coronavirus yet to be contained, it’s crazy for Gov. Cuomo to try to cut Medicaid funding for the Big Apple, a Manhattan pol said Monday.

“The notion that we’d be taking a financial hit right now was already a bad idea, but now I think it’s a spectacularly bad idea that we divert resources out of the public hospital system at this incredibly sensitive moment,” Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) thundered at a City Council hearing.

 

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VIDEO: NYC Unveils Plan For Schools In The Event Student, Teacher Tests Positive For Coronavirus

by CBS New York  VIDEO LINK Here

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City has announced a plan if a student or teacher tests positive for coronavirus.

That school will close for 24 hours, and then authorities will reassess the situation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio agree. As a general rule, schools will not close for extending period of time unless there are special circumstances.

De Blasio called it a common sense measure.

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How the City Thinks About Closing Public Schools Due to Coronavirus: Local Councilmember Mark Levine Explains

by Carol Tannenhauser in the West Side Rag

What will happen if the coronavirus enters the New York City public school system with its nearly 1,800 schools and more than 1.1 million students? Is the city ready and how will it respond? WSR asked City Councilmember Mark Levine who represents District 7, including Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, and Hamilton Heights. Levine is chairman of the Council’s health committee and sits on the education committee. He is also a public school parent.

 

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