MBP Harlem News: Gale Brewer’s COVID Weekly Newsletter

April 8, 2021

It’s Thursday, April 8, 2021. Welcome to my weekly COVID-19 newsletter.

Here are the bullets for NYC according to nonprofit news site TheCity.nyc’s COVID-19 tracker, the New York State COVID testing dashboard, and the NYC Dept. of Health:


  • 127,213 cumulative confirmed cases (+3,850 since last week)

  • 4,258 cumulative deaths (+49 since last week)

  • 2.5% seven-day positivity average (down from 2.9% last week)

  • 237,441 adults (17%) partially vaccinated

  • 419,013 adults (30%) fully vaccinated


  • 857,266 total cases (+25,007 since last week)

  • 31,598 total deaths (+389 since last week)

  • 6.32% seven-day positivity average (down from 6.64% last week)

  •  955,255 adults (14%) partially vaccinated

  • 1,563,119 adults (24%) fully vaccinated

The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s weekly “reference scenario” estimates 51,782 more deaths nationwide through July 1 (a projected cumulative total of 609,172). This is up from last week’s prediction of 600,195 total deaths, though still less than the mid-February predictions of more deaths in a shorter period (630,881 total deaths by June 1).

As of Tuesday (4/6), all New Yorkers 16+ became eligible for the vaccine (only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 and 17 years old, and they need a parent or guardian present during the vaccination).

Getting a vaccine is getting easier as the supply expands– but it’s far from streamlined. I’ve compiled this checklist (also accessible on my website) to help you know about every possible option.

  • Use the NYC COVID Vaccine Finder.

  • Check availability on NYC Vaccine List or TurboVax, which aggregate available appointments at many federal, State, City, pharmacy, and private sites.

  • Call the NYC vaccine hotline (877-VAX-4NYC or 877-829-4692), 8 am – 9 pm.

  • Contact providers listed in the NYS eligibility survey.

  • Call the NYS vaccine hotline (833-NYS-4VAX or 833-697-4829).

  • For fully homebound individuals (people who can’t leave their unit), fill out this form or call 877-829-4692 to request in-home vaccination. (This doesn’t guarantee an appointment; FDNY personnel will call to confirm eligibility.) On that call, household members (family and home health aides) can also request to be vaccinated during the in-home appointment.

  • Check hospital networks: Northwell HealthNYU Langone (for current patients only and must create a MyChart account to be notified about an appointment); Hospital for Special SurgeryFort Washington Armory (216 Fort Washington Ave.), run by NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine (create a Connect account).

  • Check SOMOS vaccine sites.

  • Check pharmacies: CVS (800-SHOP-CVS), Walgreens (800-WALGREENS), RiteAid (800-RITE-AID), and the East Harlem Costco.

  • Only NYCHA residents may visit the following sites (call 332-240-3330 to make an appointment or walk in, and bring proof of NYCHA residency):

Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Ave. btwn 112th and 115th Sts.): Open Thursday-Sunday, 8 am – 6 pm through 6/20. Serves residents of Johnson, 131 St. Nicholas Ave., Carver, Clinton, Corsi, East River, Jefferson, King Towers, Lehman Village, Lexington, Metro North Plaza, Morris Park Senior Citizens Home, Rehab Program (Taft Rehabs), Taft, UPACA (Sites 5 & 6), Wagner, Washington, White, and Wilson.

St. Nicholas/Central Harlem Senior Citizens Center (210 W. 131st St.): Open Thursday-Sunday, 8 am – 6 pm through 5/2. Serves residents of Saint Nicholas, Drew-Hamilton, Grant, Lincoln, Manhattanville, Robinson, and Samuel (City).

Gompers Community Center (80 Pitt St.): Open Thursday-Sunday, 8 am – 6 pm through 5/23. Serves residents of Gompers, Baruch, Baruch Houses Addition, Bracetti Plaza, Campos Plaza II, First Houses, Hernandez, LES I Infill, LES II, LES III, LES Rehab (Group 5), Meltzer Tower, Riis I, Riis II, Stanton Street, and Wald.

I’m hearing that lots of new appointments are available at the Fort Washington Armory (216 Fort Washington Ave.). Appointments are prioritized for uptown residents and can be made online or by calling the NMIC hotline (646-838-0319).

This Saturday (4/10) from 9 am – 5 pm, there will be a Taino Towers residents-only vaccine site in the development (240 E. 123rd St.), run by SOMOS. Call 212-369-3755 to make an appointment.

New Yorkers 75+ (and one companion) can now get a vaccine without an appointment at the following sites:

  • Essex Crossing (244B Broome St.), Thursday-Sunday, noon – 4 pm

  • City College (1549 Amsterdam Ave.), Thursday-Sunday, noon – 4 pm

  • Abyssinian Baptist Church (132 W. 138th St.), Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm

  • Ford Foundation (321 E. 42nd St.), Monday-Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm

  • Yeshiva University (2495 Amsterdam Ave.), Sunday-Thursday, 9 am – 7 pm; Friday, 9 am – 5 pm

  • Fulton Community Center (441 W. 26th St.), Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm

Call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to request free transportation.

New Yorkers 74 and younger must make an appointment to get vaccinated at all sites; first dose appointments at some sites are more readily available than at others.

Veterans 65+ currently enrolled in Veterans Affair health care can receive their COVID vaccine through the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System. Schedule an appointment at 877-877-9267.

Get help making a vaccine appointment at the corner of 137th St. and Broadway, Friday (4/9) from 11:30 am – 4 pm. NYC Test and Trace staff will help you schedule an appointment at a nearby vaccine site in the coming days.

The City is rolling out vaccine buses that will travel around NYC to administer doses. The first bus is in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, but I’ll share information once stops in Manhattan are scheduled.

I visited six vaccine sites across Manhattan last Friday (4/2) and posted my report on my website. Read it here.

School buildings will no longer close for 10 days when two unrelated COVID cases are detected starting Monday (4/12), the Mayor announced. As Chalkbeat reports, “Individual schools — not entire buildings — will shutter if there are four or more cases within a week in different classrooms, and if test and trace investigators find that these cases were contracted inside of the school… School buildings will no longer close for 24-hours when cases are detected, but individual classrooms will still close [for 10 days] when someone tests positive for the virus.”

The announcement comes one day before the opt-in period closes for in-person learning. Through this Friday (4/9), parents can fill out the Learning Preferences Survey or call 311 if they want to send their child back to the classroom this school year.

During my Manhattan Recovery Task Force this week, we discussed Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) with representatives from the Community Health Care Association of NYS and Ryan Health. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan passed last month, most FQHCs receive a reliable vaccine supply from the federal government, so they are able to pre-schedule appointments several weeks out. Many FQHCs are contacting current patients to schedule vaccine appointments, and some FQHCs have their own vaccine scheduling systems; the ones I know about are Ryan HealthCharles B. Wang Community Health Center (call 212-379-6998), Covenant House, and Upper Room AIDS Ministry/Harlem United’s The Nest Community Health Center (contact intake@harlemunited.org or 646-762-4969).

Also because of the Rescue Plan, FQHCs in New York City are getting $240 million for both COVID- and non-COVID-related expansion of care. We broke down the some of the other federal funds coming to NYC for COVID relief and recovery: $6.1 billion to the City; $6.5 billion for the MTA; $5.2 billion for public schools; and $1.8 billion for childcare. We then discussed congestion pricing and the City’s fiscal landscape (more information is available on the Independent Budget Office’s website). If you’d like to join these weekly discussions about vaccines and reopening, email info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

I’ve been distributing boxes and boxes of masks and sanitizer across Manhattan. If your school or organization needs PPE, contact my staffers Shawn Jean-Louis (sjean-louis@manhattanbp.nyc.gov) or Jessica Mates (jmates@manhattanbp.nyc.gov).

The City and State are both hiring for vaccine-related positions. The City’s Vaccine for All Corps is looking to hire people, particularly from hard-hit communities and industries. No health care experience is necessary for roles in vaccine site management, operations, and client services; the Corps is also hiring for clinical roles. Click the link above to apply through the Dept. of Small Business Services.

The State is hiring for clinical and non-clinical roles at vaccine sites. See openings here.

Every Monday-Thursday from 9:30 am – 4 pm, free walk-in COVID self-testing is available at Word Up Bookshop (2113 Amsterdam Ave. at W. 165th St.) in Washington Heights. Results will be emailed to you approximately 48 hours later. Children age four and older can be tested with a parent or guardian present.

Monday (4/12) from 3:30-6 pm, a “Virtual Deaf Town Hall on COVID-19 Vaccines” will feature vaccine updates from the NYC Dept. of Health and a Q&A, hosted by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. The meeting will have both ASL and live captioning. Register here.

Next Thursday (4/15) at 7 pm, State Senator Liz Krueger hosts a virtual town hall, “New York City: What Can We Do After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccination?” NYU epidemiologist Dr. Celine Gounder will speak about reasonable post-vaccination activities, vaccine passports, and COVID workplace regulations. There will also be a Q&A. Click the title to register

The White House’s new COVID-19 Community Corps is looking for local voices and trusted community leaders to encourage people to get vaccinated. Corps members get resources to help build vaccine confidence in their community, like vaccine fact sheets and information on how to talk to your networks about the importance of getting vaccinated. Health professionals, community organizations, faith leaders, businesses, civil rights organizations, sports leagues, and Americans from all walks of life are encouraged to join the corps.

COVID News Clippings

How New York’s Open Streets Program Will Work in 2021
By Rachel Sugar, New York Magazine, March 30, 2021

How close state to herd immunity?
By Philip Bump, Washington Post, April 1, 2021

Billions in New Obamacare Subsidies Are Now Available on Healthcare.gov
Nearly everyone with a marketplace health plan can seek more financial help. Many uninsured Americans and people who buy their insurance elsewhere can also benefit.
By Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz, NY Times, April 1, 2021

Is the Second Dose Bad? If I Feel OK, Is It Working? Can I Take Tylenol?
The most common questions about vaccination side effects, answered.
By Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times, April 2, 2021

Virus Variants Threaten to Draw Out the Pandemic, Scientists Say
“The best way to think about B.1.1.7 and other variants is to treat them as separate epidemics,”
By Apoorva Mandavilli and Benjamin Mueller, NY Times, April 3, 2021

Are we entering a ‘fourth wave’ of the pandemic? Experts disagree.
By Reis Thebault, Washington Post, April 4, 2021

Researchers Are Hatching a Low-Cost Coronavirus Vaccine
A new formulation entering clinical trials in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam could change how the world fights the pandemic.
By Carl Zimmer, NY Times, April 5, 2021

How To Score A COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment In NY Now That Every Adult Is Eligible
By Caroline Lewis, Gothamist, April 7, 2021

Find more MBP Harlem News.

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