Saturday, December 5, 2020

NYPD Announces Citywide Crime Statistics for November 2020


Gun arrests continue to rise in the face of increased shooting violence

 The year so far has presented significant public safety challenges with gun violence continuing to afflict New Yorkers across the city. As shootings continued their upward trajectory in November, citywide shooting incidents through the first eleven months of 2020 surged to levels unseen in years.

That spike in street violence contrasts with the levels of overall crime remaining flat through the first 11 months of the year, or up a combined +0.6% (8,170 v. 8,120) in the seven major felony categories amid an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that continues to strain the city and its police. And hate crimes, in particular, are dramatically down. Even as the pandemic prompted a spike in coronavirus-related hate crimes against those of Asian descent, it was swiftly addressed by the formation of an Asian Hate Crime Task Force that has so far helped to close 16 of 24 of those reported crimes with an arrest.

On gun violence, the NYPD’s unrelenting work to suppress it goes on. The data to date shows that our officers’ continued focus on making strong gun cases is increasingly taking hold.

Gun arrests for the month of November are up +112.3% (484 v. 228), driving a +22.2% increase in citywide gun arrests (3,793 v. 3,104) compared with the same period a year ago. Going forward, the NYPD will continue to cultivate information to arrest anyone willing to purchase, carry or sell an illegal firearm in New York City.

Still, shootings have victimized far too many. For November, there was a +112.5% (115 v. 51) increase in shootings citywide. And shootings have risen +95.8% (1,412 v. 721) through the first 11 months of 2020, compared with the same period last year. Notable in the gun violence is an emerging trend the NYPD is weaving into its precision-driven enforcement approach: 40% of those accused of a shooting have had a past gun possession arrest, while 21% of shooting victims have had one.

To serve those harmed – on both sides of the gun – our officers and citizens continue to build the kind of bonds that are essential to our shared sense of well-being. Our investigators, Neighborhood Coordination and Youth officers, as well as every uniformed officer on patrol, remain steadfast in achieving the kind of common good all New Yorkers demand.

On violent crime, homicides have also risen both for the month and the year. November saw 28 people murdered in the five boroughs, five more than were killed last November. So far in 2020, there has been a +38.4% increase (422 v. 305) in the number of victims murdered in New York City compared to last year.

“Whatever the challenge, our NYPD officers have shown innovation and determination to get the job done this year,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “Our work to reimagine the kind of policing New Yorkers deserve is always evolving, in line with our agency’s best traditions to reflect the needs of everyone in our city.”

Statistics on Index Crimes

 November 2020November 2019+/-%

Additional Statistics For November 2020

 November 2020November 2019+/-%

November Rape Breakdowns

2 Years
3 Years
4 Years
5+ Years

Hate Crimes Statistics Summary from January 1, 2020 – November 29, 2020

These statistics represent the time period between January 1, 2020 – November 29, 2020 for the respective years of 2019 and 2020.

Other Corona
Sexual Orientation
Grand Total

Recent Coronavirus-related incidents fall under the anti-other category as there are primarily two motivating factors behind those crimes: The victim’s race (Anti-Asian) and the perception that they have Coronavirus. Also, all crime statistics are preliminary and subject to further analysis, revisions, or change.

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - DECEMBER 5, 2020


Positive Testing Rate in All Focus Zone Areas is 6.17 Percent; New York State Positivity Outside All Focus Zone Areas is 4.59 Percent     

Statewide Positivity Rate is 4.99 Percent

69 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I understand New Yorkers may be feeling COVID fatigue, especially now that we have entered the holiday season and the first batch of vaccines is a couple weeks away, but if there was ever a time to double down and be vigilant, it's now," Governor Cuomo said. "We continue to implement our data-driven winter plan and we are laser focused on making sure New York's hospitals have enough capacity. What's troubling is we are seeing a new trend where the majority of cases are traced to households and private gatherings. The federal government continues to overlook the black, brown, and poor communities in its vaccine plan and hasn't provided the funding necessary for the states to administer it. These are real problems, and if left unaddressed they could undermine the effectiveness of the entire program. While we won't stop fighting until these problems are addressed, New Yorkers need to do their part too. They already did the best job in the country the first time around, going from the highest infection rate to one of the lowest, and I have no doubt if we continue to stay smart, we will get through this together — stronger, tougher and more loving than before."

The Governor noted that the positive testing rate in all focus areas under the state's Micro-Cluster strategy is 6.17 percent, and outside the focus zone areas is 4.59 percent. Within the focus areas, 54,956 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 3,389 positives. In the remainder of the state, not counting these focus areas, 160,445 test results were reported, yielding 7,372 positives. 

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 4,318 (+96)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 621 
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 825 (+30)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 435 (+32)
  • Total Discharges - 87,473 (+445)
  • Deaths - 69
  • Total Deaths - 27,089

Attorney General James Charges Bronx Man for Sex Trafficking Children


Joint Investigation Led by AG’s Organized Crime Task Force and NYPD’s Human
Trafficking Team Marks First Time AG Has Charged Newly Enacted Crime

   Attorney General Letitia James today announced the arrest of Paul Alexander, 57, of the Bronx, a Level 3 Sex Offender, for sex trafficking children throughout New York City. Alexander’s arrest is the result of a joint investigation between the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Vice Major Case Squad, Human Trafficking Team. This marks the first time Attorney General James has charged a defendant with the newly enacted crime of Sex Trafficking of a Child, which strengthens prosecutors’ ability to hold sex traffickers accountable.

“There is nothing more reprehensible than sexually exploiting a child,” said Attorney General James. “This individual’s alleged actions jeopardized the health and safety of our children and highlighted the critical need for these new protections that strengthen our ability to hold perpetrators accountable for these gross violations of the law. I thank the NYPD for their partnership in this investigation, and I will continue to use all the tools at my office’s disposal to hold accountable those who seek to abuse our children.”

“The NYPD and our law enforcement partners share a commitment to protect the survivors of child trafficking, and we will continue to fight on behalf of our society’s most vulnerable individuals,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “I thank and commend the NYPD detectives involved in this investigation and the New York State Office of the Attorney General for their efforts to ensure child predators are taken off our streets. The NYPD will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to eradicate the trafficking of children in our city and work to bring justice to victims of these heinous crimes.”

The investigation was named “Operation Mile High” after investigators revealed Alexander was listed as the C.E.O. of Central Jet Charter, a private aircraft charter company. Through the use of covert recording devices, social media, and undercover operations, the investigative team determined that Alexander was, in fact, trafficking children across county lines for sex. The initial investigation began in March after a female minor reported Alexander to the NYPD, alleging that Alexander sexually abused her and other underage girls, and promoted them for prostitution to other men. An undercover police officer met with Alexander who charged him a total of $300 for sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old victim and a 14-year-old victim — and encouraged the undercover officer to use alcohol and marijuana to make the victims more cooperative.

The defendant was arraigned today before Bronx County Criminal Court Judge Michael Hartofilis on a felony complaint, in which he is charged with multiple counts of Sex Trafficking of a Child, Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Child, related counts of First and Second Degrees of Promoting Prostitution, and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Alexander faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted of the top counts. Additionally, he was remanded and ordered to return to court on December 8, 2020. Both Sex Trafficking of a Child and First Degree Promoting Prostitution are class B felonies, and Sex Trafficking of a Child is a violent felony offense.

The felony complaint charge against the defendant is an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Attorney General James thanks Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark for her office’s assistance in this investigation. 

New York City Housing Authority Toy Giveaways by Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Santa Clau


Christmas Tree & Menorah Lightings


Council District 13 Holiday Lights Celebration Schedule


Friday, December 4, 2020



Mayor Bill de Blasio today made the following statement on the special election in the New York City Council’s 31st District:
“I am declaring Tuesday, February 23, 2021 as the date for the 31st City Council District special election to elect a Council Member to serve until December 31, 2021. This date, within the window allowed by the City Charter, will give residents the chance to make thoughtful and informed decisions about their representation.
Eligible Queens voters can participate with early voting, in-person voting, or by returning an absentee ballot, and I encourage everyone to make their voices heard in this special election.”


What the mayor has left out is the fact that this election should be a Rank Choice Voting election.

Governor Cuomo Announces Results of State Police Thanksgiving Crackdown on Impaired and Reckless Driving


Troopers Issue Nearly 14,000 Tickets, Arrest 155 For Impaired Driving During Campaign Over The Thanksgiving Holiday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State Police issued 13,887 tickets during this year's Thanksgiving traffic enforcement initiative, which targeted unsafe driving behaviors during the holiday weekend. The special traffic enforcement period, which is funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, ran from Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29. State Troopers also arrested 155 people for DWI and investigated 757 crashes, including three fatalities, during the holiday period. The three fatal crashes that NYSP responded to occurred in Allegany, Nassau and Orange counties.

"Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs endangers every single traveler on the road, and it simply will not be tolerated," said Governor Cuomo. "Not only during the holidays, but at all times, the message is clear - be responsible and drive sober or make plans for finding a safe ride home. It's literally that simple and by following those rules, our roads will be safer and lives will be saved."

The State Police supplemented regular patrols statewide during this crackdown with fixed sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker initiative and the "Operation Hang Up" initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on handheld devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

Acting State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "I commend our Troopers and our local law enforcement partners for the work they do each day to keep our roads safe. State Police will continue to be highly visible throughout the holiday season, looking out for reckless and aggressive drivers. We urge drivers to do their part by making the right choices when they get behind the wheel - drive sober, follow posted speed limits and put away your smart phones."

GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J. F. Schroeder said, "I applaud all law enforcement who took part in this mobilization to keep our roads as safe as possible. We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season. No one's holiday memories should be marred by a needless tragedy. If you plan to drink as part of your celebration, please do not drive. Having a plan to designate a sober driver or arrange a ride home could save a life."

As part of the enforcement, Troopers also targeted speeding and aggressive drivers across the state. Below is a sampling of the total tickets that were issued.

Speeding                       4,871

Distracted Driving             228

Seatbelt violations         1,825

Move Over Law                188



The newly signed law from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Andrew Gounardes establishes public criteria to select subway stations for ADA accessibility improvements.

 The fight for full compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) throughout New York’s subway system has surely taken a hit from the COVID-19 economic crisis, but it will move forward in an equitable and transparent method thanks to just-enacted legislation from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. The new law, which was also carried by State Senator Andrew Gounardes, requires the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to develop and make publicly available criteria to “determine how to best prioritize subway stations for accessibility improvements.” 

These criteria, which were developed in conjunction with disability advocates and transit riders with disabilities, must include at minimum:

• citywide geographic coverage,

• transit transfer options,

• annual ridership volume,

• census tract data for senior and disabled populations and percentage of those populations in poverty,

• residential density of surrounding neighborhoods; and

• proximity to medical centers, schools, parks, business districts, cultural hubs, and senior centers.


The current MTA capital program for 2020-24 went into effect on January 1, 2020 but it has been paused by the MTA due to a dramatic reduction in MTA revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The future of this capital program is dependent on the delivery of federal relief funding for the MTA and the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as currently described it includes $5.2 billion for station accessibility efforts in New York City Transit subways and Staten Island Railway. The new criteria will ensure that any modifications to the 2020-24 capital program as well as all future capital programs maintain the equitable practices that are currently used by the MTA to determine where station accessibility improvements are made.


The enactment of this law is described as a key step forward in the fight for full subway accessibility. Dinowitz and Gounardes also carry another bill (A7753/S6150) that would codify key elements of the Fast Forward subway action plan from former NYCT President Andy Byford, including a timeline for complete station accessibility in all 472 subway stations operated by the MTA. Under the proposed bill, the MTA would have to make accessible 50 stations in the 2020-24 capital program, and 130 new accessible stations in the 2025-2029 capital program, and the remainder of subway stations would need to be completed in the 2030-2034 capital program. That legislation, which has already garnered the support of at least two dozen Assemblymembers, would also improve elevator outage communications, facilitate the provision of accessibility information to third-party smartphone apps (such as Google Maps or Apple Maps), mandate full-accessibility for any major station work that lasts longer than six months, and other key elements to help riders with disabilities gain equitable access to mass transit.


Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “Although our fight for full mass transit accessibility is long from over, I am very proud to have secured this victory to ensure that future MTA decisions on subway station accessibility continue to be made in an equitable and transparent way. There are simply too many New Yorkers who are being left behind by inaccessible subways, especially in communities like those in the north and northwest Bronx, and for too many years. Along with State Senator Gounardes and all of the advocates who helped shape these criteria we will continue to work towards progress, but today I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law.”


We see this as nothing more than trying to get publicity for elected officials or those they are supporting in upcoming races. The law should have said all stations, and not just select stations. We see the sentence Annual Ridership Volume as the problem, rather than number of Disabled Ridership Volume. Some stations may be in areas where there is less Annual Ridership Volume, but more Disabled Ridership Volume. 




 Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Margaret Forgione the Acting Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT). Forgione, a 26-year DOT veteran and the Department’s current Chief Operations Officer, will assume the role when Commissioner Polly Trottenberg leaves her position on December 11. 

“Margaret Forgione has the experience and vision to build on the agency’s extraordinary reimagining of public space throughout our fight against COVID-19,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I look forward to working with her on Vision Zero street safety, accessibility, and the continued expansion of cycling and bus access.”
"Margaret Forgione is widely respected throughout City Hall and has consistently demonstrated her creativity and reliability in overseeing the operational divisions within DOT,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “I look forward to her taking the helm of this vital agency and also want to thank Polly Trottenberg for her years of exceptional work in advancing this Administration’s transportation and mobility initiatives. It’s been an absolute pleasure working alongside Polly and I wish her nothing but success in her next endeavor. While Margaret certainly has some big shoes to fill, I have all confidence in her and the entire team at DOT.”
"I thank Mayor de Blasio for this opportunity to lead DOT in these challenging times,” said DOT Acting Commissioner Margaret Forgione. “Commissioner Trottenberg made historic strides in improving safety and mobility throughout her tenure and then guided us through the pandemic, safeguarding our workforce while transforming our streets to meet critical space needs. I look forward to continuing and building on this essential work to create a safe and livable street network to support the city in enduring through the pandemic and thriving beyond it.”
Margaret Forgione has served at DOT in senior roles since 1994, most recently as Chief Operations Officer, a position she has held since June 2016. Prior to that, Forgione had served as DOT’s Manhattan Borough Commissioner. She has also led DOT’s Arterial Maintenance Unit, directed the Adopt-A-Highway program, and served as a Special Assistant to the First Deputy Commissioner. Forgione began her work in New York City government as a Senior Analyst in the Mayor’s Office of Operations.
As Chief Operations Officer, Acting Commissioner Forgione oversaw the agency’s operational divisions, totaling roughly 5,000 employees, including within the Staten Island Ferry, Bridges, Roadway Repair and Maintenance, Sidewalks and Inspection Management, Traffic Operations, Transportation Planning and Management, the Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination and five Borough Commissioner offices. As Manhattan Borough Commissioner between 2002-16, she oversaw the pedestrianization of Times Square, the creation of the City’s first on-street protected bike lane (along Ninth Avenue) and the rollout of Citi Bike, the nation’s largest bike share program.
Acting Commissioner Forgione was raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - DECEMBER 3, 2020


Governor to Sign Executive Order Expanding Eligibility for New York's COVID Rent Relief Program and Reopening Application Window

Positive Testing Rate in All Focus Zone Areas is 5.91 Percent; New York State Positivity Outside All Focus Zone Areas is 4.49 Percent

Statewide Positivity Rate is 4.84 Percent

61 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

State to Partner with Prescryptive Health to Launch 150 New Rapid Testing Sites Statewide

 "It's all about hospitalization rate and hospital capacity. In the broad scope of things, we're dealing with increases in hospitalizations, but we're doing dramatically better than essentially every other state in the country. The total number of hospital beds in the state is 53,000 - currently 35,000 beds are occupied, and about 4,000 of those with COVID patients. At our height, we had about 19,000 people hospitalized with COVID, to put this recent increase in perspective," Governor Cuomo said. "The next chapter is going to be vaccine distribution and vaccine acceptance. The vaccine is the weapon that is going to win the COVID war, and that is the light at the end of the tunnel. It's not a short tunnel, but we know the way through this. We just have to get there, and we have to get there with as little as loss of life as possible."

The Governor also announced he will be signing an executive order expanding eligibility for New York State's COVID Rent Relief Program and reopening its application window. The Program, which was created by the state legislature when it passed the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020, appropriated up to $100 million from the federal CARES Act to provide subsidies for tenants who lost income due to the pandemic. Based on the legislature's parameters, as much as $40 million is expected to be paid to eligible applicants approximately 15,000 New York households. This executive order will expand the program's eligibility so more rent relief can be provided to New Yorkers. Additional details will be available in the coming days.

Additionally, New York State is partnering with Prescryptive Health to provide expanded COVID-19 testing capacity across New York State. The partnership will help expand testing capacity in areas where testing access is limited and will include 150 new rapid testing locations statewide opening in the coming weeks where testing will be offered. Prescryptive's digital health platform will manage deployment of rapid test kits provided by New York State, and provide the technology to manage inventory, schedule appointments and report results in a timely manner. Residents can find participating sites, schedule a test, receive results and follow-up with licensed clinicians directly from their mobile device. All testing sites will be searchable on the state's COVID test site website ( and appointments for these sites will be also available at

The Governor noted that the positive testing rate in all focus areas under the state's Micro-Cluster strategy is 5.91 percent, and outside the focus zone areas is 4.49 percent. Within the focus areas, 50,800 test results were reported yesterday, yielding 3,003 positives. In the remainder of the state, not counting these focus areas, 152,640 test results were reported, yielding 6,852 positives.

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 4,063 (+139)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 664
  • Hospital Counties - 55
  • Number ICU - 783 (+41)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 377 (+4)
  • Total Discharges - 86,638 (+437)
  • Deaths - 61
  • Total Deaths - 26,955

Governor Cuomo Announces 1,779 Tickets Issued by State Police During "Operation Hardhat," Surpassing 2019's Total by Nearly 70 Percent


Initiative between NYSP, Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority Aims to Keep Highway Workers Safe in Construction Work Zones
 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police issued 1,779 tickets during this year's Operation Hardhat, an initiative between State Police, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority, to crack down on work zone violations and highlight the importance of safe driving when encountering construction, maintenance and emergency operations along state highways. With dozens of details held in almost every region of New York State, the number of violations issued was 69.8 percent higher than the 1,048 tickets issued by State Troopers during all of 2019's Operation Hard Hat.  

"Building and maintaining a 21st Century transportation system cannot be done without the work performed by highway construction workers and it's imperative we do all we can to make their jobs as safe as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "Preventing tragedies takes everyone working together, so while the state will continue to crack down on those who endanger those working on our roadways, I am urging all New Yorkers to not only obey the speed limit and other traffic laws, but to do the right thing and use care while traveling through work zones." 

Beginning in July and stretching through November, New York State Police spent a total of 243 hours at DOT and Thruway-operated work zones in 2020. The 1,779 tickets included the following violations:

  • Speeding - 618
  • Seatbelts - 187
  • Cell Phone - 297
  • Failure to Move Over - 141
  • Failure to Obey Flagger - 2
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device - 17
  • DWI - 1
  • Other violations - 516 

Under "Operation Hardhat" State Troopers are present within the work zones, dressed as highway maintenance workers, to identify motorists who disobey flagging personnel, speed through the work zone or violate the state's Move Over Law, which applies to both emergency and maintenance vehicles.

Additionally, the State Department of Transportation partnered with local law enforcement agencies on separate "Operation Hardhat" initiatives in 2020, including the Utica Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Livingston County Sheriff's Office, Wyoming County Sheriff's Office, Steuben County Sheriff's Office, Canisteo Police Department, Village of Mohawk Police Department and the Schuyler County Sheriff's Office.  Separately, these operations have resulted in 215 tickets issued to motorists, including tickets for speeding, seatbelt violations, cell phone/electronic device use, expired inspections, among other violations. 

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Safety is always our top priority at the Department of Transportation and I can't thank our partners in law enforcement enough for the work they are doing to help protect our team members.  Our highway crews and contractors work in dangerous conditions to keep our roads and bridges safe, so that we can all get where we need to go safely and efficiently. It's imperative that motorists pay attention, obey posted speed limits and be aware of workers and equipment in highway work zones." 

State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "Highway work zones present a hazard to both construction workers and travelers, which is why it is imperative that drivers comply with posted speed limit reductions and proceed with extreme caution. State Troopers will continue to actively patrol work zones and violations of the law will not be tolerated."

DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The results of this year's Operation Hard Hat mobilization underscore the importance of this enforcement campaign. Highway workers put their lives on the line so that the rest of us have access to safe roads and bridges.  We owe it to them to drive safely in work zones so they can do their essential jobs and get back home to their families each night."

Motorists are reminded to Move Over a lane, if safely possible, or slow down significantly whenever encountering roadside vehicles displaying red, white, blue, amber or green lights, including maintenance and construction vehicles in work zones. Motorists are urged to slow down and drive responsibly in work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. Convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual's driver license.

Mayor de Blasio on the Rising COVID-19 Indicators


Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Today, we want to focus on not just the fight against the coronavirus right now, but where we're going, how we're going to defeat this virus once and for all, rebuild this city, recover as a city, move forward and then have the ability to be a global leader in public health, based in fact, on the very experiences that we went through this year, the painful experiences we learned so much from, the innovations we created, the forces we marshaled together, the extraordinary ingenuity and energy that New Yorkers showed in addressing this crisis. That is also the beginning of building out a role as the global leader in public health and the place that people can look to from all over the country, all over the world to help ensure there won't be the next pandemic or, God forbid we're faced with a challenge, that we handle it a lot better based on the lessons we learned here.
So, we're going to talk about our plans for that future, and we're going to frame it, of course, with the reality that we're fighting an intense fight against the coronavirus right now, we'll talk about that, but that thank God the cavalry is coming. The vaccine is coming, starting this month, this month of December. In fact, just 12 days from now, we expect the first dosages to arrive, and we'll talk about that and how we're going to be distributing the vaccine here in this city quickly and effectively. But let's be clear. This whole crisis has taught us so much. It's taught us so much about the need to create, to do things that haven't been done before, to be willing to try new things and figure out what will work to recognize truths that were too often swept under the rug, including profound disparities that must be addressed head on. All of that has made us stronger, even though none of us wishes we went through any of this pain, any of these challenges, it has made us stronger and it's made us clear about what we have to do for the future.  
I had a great example of this yesterday. I toured the Pandemic Response Lab. This is a brand-new facility. It was set up during the coronavirus crisis to help New York City respond to the challenge we faced, and it is absolutely extraordinary. This was created from scratch, using new approaches, new technology, taking some of the best minds in this city, in the business sector, universities, hospitals, bringing them together at the Alexandria Center to focus on solutions we needed right now, and we all know one of the biggest challenges was getting all those tests processed quickly. Remember, from the very beginning, I remember the first press conference we ever had about the coronavirus, the key point was testing, and today the key is still testing. But what we found is crisis is testing is only as good as your ability to process the results and process them quickly, and that's what the Pandemic Response Lab has been doing brilliantly – 20,000 individual tests a day being processed right now, the ability to get up to 30,000 soon, and then we're going to build beyond, and it's remarkable to see how effective this process is considering it was something only thrown together in the last few months. I really want to thank everyone at the pandemic response lab for their amazing effort, and this video will give you a sense of the work they are doing to protect all of us. 
Mayor: So that gives you a flavor of the amazing work being done at the lab. This was put together so quickly and effectively, and this is again the spirit of this city, the ability of this city, and this is what makes us special, even irreplaceable in the national and global context. New York City can do things that no other place can do, and we learned that with the Pandemic Response Lab, but now we're going to go farther because the next step is to build something even bigger that will be about the future and protecting this city and every place in this country and this world from future challenges, and so today we're announcing the creation of the Pandemic Response Institute, housed here in New York City at the Alexandria Center to lead the world to the solutions that will protect us in the future.  
Now, look, we know that research is necessary in an unprecedented way. We know that during this crisis, there was so much catching up that had to be done. That work can be done in many ways in advance, going forward. The training to prepare people for future challenges can be done – now that we know the depth of the challenge we can get ahead of it and we can prove it can be done right here in New York City. The fact that we have learned a lot more about how to detect outbreaks and manage them, but we have to go a lot farther – that can be done here in New York City. Creating a blueprint for addressing this kind of crisis and do it in a systematic way – that can be created right here in New York City. To tell you more about the Pandemic Response Institute and what it'll mean for the city and far beyond the city someone who has really shown tremendous vision in fighting the crisis here, but also in helping us to envision where we can go as a city, my senior advisor, Dr. Jay Varma. 
Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Varma: Great, thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. On April 3rd, I boarded a plane in Ethiopia and flew to New York City to help respond to the most lethal crisis the city has ever faced. I remember arriving in New York and being struck by two feelings. First, how unsettling it was to see the storefronts closed, to hear the air pierced by the sound of sirens, to see people on the streets, masked, walking away from each other as much as possible. Second, I was also struck by how eerily familiar it all felt. I've responded to outbreaks all over the world, from Ebola in West Africa, to refugee camps in Thailand, and I'm unfortunately all too familiar with the devastating impact that epidemics can have on societies. In the work I've done throughout the world one principal message I've always tried to deliver is that public health, isn't an investment, it's not a cost. It's an investment in our physical safety, an investment in our economic prosperity, and an investment in justice, ensuring that health and opportunity are available to all, and that is why the Mayor's announcement today about a new Pandemic Response Institute is so important to the city, the country, and indeed the world. New York City had to fight its way back from one of the worst COVID outbreaks of any city in the world, and one of the ways it did that was through a partnership as you've just heard between government academia and the private sector to create the Pandemic Response Lab, and that lab has been the key that unlocked the Test and Trace Corps to prevent thousands of infections in the city, and the key that unlocked the safe reopening of our public school system.  
The Pandemic Response Institute is an opportunity to expand beyond laboratory work, into training, research, innovation – into all of the areas we know were important for outbreaks: detection, investigation, management, and this will position the city as a leader in pandemic response and strengthen our infrastructure for future outbreaks. How do we forecast when an outbreak might emerge, just like we do the weather? How do we develop tests for COVID and other infections that you can use at home, like a pregnancy test? How do we develop PPE that's easier and safer for anyone to use? How do we develop and test vaccines even faster than what we've done with COVID? This Institute can bring together partners from all around the city to answer these questions, to spur innovation, and create new jobs and new business ventures.  
To develop this Institute, the city will support its initial home at the Alexandria Center positioned right next to the Pandemic Response Lab. We'll be meeting with public health experts next month to further develop the strategy and focus for the Institute and then issue an RFP for partners to operate the Institute shortly thereafter, with a goal to select an organization to begin operating it in 2021. Central to all of this is really public and private partnership, bringing together the best from the city, from government, our universities, our biotech and technology centers and our civic organizations. Together, they can spur economic development, build a stronger workforce, and make New York City the public health capital of the world. 
Mayor: Thank you so much, Dr. Varma, and look, this is going to be crucial to our future. It's going to be crucial to our ability to protect people. It's going to be – it's so important to the recovery of New York City to bringing back and building an even stronger base of jobs. This is part of what's going to make New York City great going forward. So thank you Dr. Varma, and thank you to all my colleagues to be a part of putting this initiative together.  
All right, now let's talk about, as I said earlier, the cavalry is coming, let's talk about the vaccines. The moment we have all been waiting for is finally here. Vaccines are being approved. Vaccines are being shipped. We expect the first shipments as early as December 15th. That is 12 days from now, the Pfizer vaccine shipments, we expect to begin for New York City – Moderna shipments a week later on the 22nd. 
We are working closely with the State of New York on a distribution plan with an important focus on those who have the greatest need and need to get the vaccine in the first efforts. We're going to be working with the state to fine tune the approach. But what we all agree on is high risk health care workers, obviously absolutely crucial to protect those who protect all of us, and we know from a painful experience, how much have to focus on our nursing home residents and the good people who work in our nursing homes. So those will be among the top priorities, of course.  
Now, over time there will be enough vaccine for everyone, but we're going to have to prioritize in waves to make sure that those in greatest need get the vaccine first. This will obviously take months, but we're going to focus on the people have the greatest needs. We're going to focus on those 27 neighborhoods that were most deeply affected by the coronavirus. We're going to certainly focus on folks who have borne the brunt, like people who live in public housing, but we're going to throughout this process, work on the fastest and most effective distribution because the faster we can move, and the more we can educate people, and the more we can get people involved, the more people who will be safe. Here to tell you about it representing our Health Department, which has a lot of powerful history, making sure that New Yorkers get vaccinated and protected, so leading this effort with a lot of tremendous expertise to support them, our Health Commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi. 
Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. New York City, we don't make small plans. We think big, we build big, and we plan big, and the effort to vaccinate millions of New Yorkers in the months ahead will be, in a word, big. That is why we are calibrating our entire public health infrastructure to this project – this spans science, operations, data tracking, equity, and public communication. As the Mayor said, our first priority includes health care heroes. Those who cared for us in the worst moments of the pandemic and whom we continue to depend on now, as cases rise. The Mayor also highlighted the people most at risk, including residents and staff of nursing homes. Our goal is to ensure that a safe, effective vaccine gets to everyone who wants it. Doing so will require close coordination, yes, across the entire city, but also with the state and the federal government, and it also requires us to make sure that all New Yorkers have access to the latest information. 
That's why we're here today.  
But the process of turning a vaccine into a vaccination will be a challenge, a formidable one. For example, storage requirements vary. The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage and special freezers. The Moderna vaccine can be stored in regular freezers. So we're shoring up capacity for both to be prepared. The Health Department itself currently has the ability to receive, store, and ship up to 320,000 doses of ultra-cold, that's at -80 degrees Celsius, as well as millions of frozen vaccines. This is in addition to hospital capacity and over 50 hospitals have access to ultra-cold storage, or will have the special ultra-cold freezer delivered very soon, for a total citywide storage capacity of at least 1.5 million doses. But making sure that we're getting vaccine to the people who are at highest risk from COVID-19 requires data, and we will use our citywide immunization registry to monitor inventory and administration and help make sure everyone gets both of the doses. 
This registry is like the air traffic control of vaccine distribution. Thousands of health care providers are already enrolled in the registry and report vaccine doses such as for the flu shot. I think of this as the everyday miracle of routine vaccination that prevents so much suffering and already saves lives, but we will build upon this for the COVID-19 vaccine. The Health Department will track in real time communities that may have a low uptake of the vaccine and pivot to ensure that the vaccine is distributed equitably. Our existing public health infrastructure allows us to work closely with health care providers, community health centers, and independent pharmacies across the city. We will be providing everything from technical assistance to resources for storing and handling the vaccine. When we anticipate that more access is needed, we will quickly stand up temporary vaccine centers as well. For instance, these centers will be in pre-identified schools across the city and operated by the Health Department. They're staffed by trained Health Department employees, other City employees from other agencies, as well as Medical Reserve Corps volunteers. These sites would serve essential workers initially, but could be expanded to serve members of the general public getting vaccine to people rapidly and safely. The process is simple. Appointments are scheduled. Eligibility is assessed online and after affirming on the day of their appointment that they are symptom free. They can show up and receive a vaccination. In 2009 during the H1N1 influenza outbreak, the Health Department immunized tens of thousands of New Yorkers in temporary vaccine centers just like that one. At one site, almost 6,000 people were vaccinated in just two days.   
But this is a marathon, not a sprint. And there is a long, long road ahead of us. Building trust has to be integral to our preparation as integral as storage and inventory. So we will also be working closely with our partners, including community organizers, faith leaders, and local clinicians in the coming months. As we get more details, we will be sharing information widely with community partners and the general public through public forums, media availabilities, ad campaigns, and social media. As important as sharing information is, my commitment is also to listen to our community partners. To make sure we're doing everything we can possibly do to be worthy of the public's trust. And make it as easy as possible for everyone who wants a vaccine to get one. Public trust in the vaccine is essential. I think about what it takes to earn the trust of the patients I've cared for as a doctor, starting with listening, communicating the science and following up. We will bring that same approach rooted in humility, evidence, and compassion to our vaccination campaign.   
One last note, the media has been extremely important in helping to combat misinformation, whether it was dangerous myths about the measles vaccine or more recently herd immunity and the effectiveness of masks. I want to thank you for the work that you've done and ask for your partnership to report the scientific facts about vaccines and their safety. Together, we can take this step forward into the beginning of the end of this public health emergency. Thank you.  
Mayor: Thank you so much, Doctor. And everyone, Dr. Chokshi’s last point is so important. The trust that we're all going to need to have here, the information that people need and deserve. Again, thanks to our colleagues in the media. You're going to play a crucial role here, getting the information out. And we do want to get the truth out. We know there's been, unfortunately, a lot of misinformation about vaccines. But vaccines are going to be absolutely crucial to ending the coronavirus crisis once and for all. And we're going to need everyone to be a part of this, and we should be thankful too, to all those who participate in creating these vaccines. This has been an unprecedented effort. So, to all the scientists, all the companies that have been involved, to the health care leadership on all levels of government, this is something that took tremendous work in record time, really. And we should be thankful to all involved.  
Now, vaccination campaign will begin immediately. We're going to be talking about that regularly. It says to us that we will be able to turn the corner on the coronavirus, but in the meantime, we have a tremendous challenge. And we're going to go over our indicators now, which certainly illustrate what we have to deal with right now to get to that point where the vaccine is widely distributed. And we turn that bigger corner. So, let's go over to indicators. Number one, daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19. Threshold is 200 patients. Today's report, 174 patients. So, we see a serious increase there. Confirmed positivity level of 49.7 percent. I'm going to talk about all three indicators and then I want to give a summary. The number two is new reported cases on a seven-day average threshold, 550 cases today, 1,962. And number three, percentage of people testing city-wide positive for COVID-19. Threshold, five percent. Today's report the daily, 3.9 percent, but the seven-day rolling average has really increased, to 5.19 percent. So what does this tell us? Well, we have three indicators and we've talked about the importance of looking at all three. This is something we've had the conversation with the people of this city for months and months, that we use different indicators to tell us different things and to see if they are aligning.  
What we're now seeing more than we have seen in a long, long time, unfortunately, is these three indicators all moving in the wrong direction or having already in the case of the daily cases, moved greatly in the wrong direction. So it's quite clear at this point that this second wave unfortunately, is right upon us. We are seeing a different reality in the hospitals for sure than in the spring. And this is a very, very important point. Even though that number has gone up, it's still a very different reality in our hospitals than what we experienced in the spring. The ability of our hospitals to deal with patients is greatly improved. The ability of patients to survive this disease is greatly improved. We are not seeing the kind of stress on our ICU's anywhere near what we saw in the past. But we're extremely concerned and vigilant to make sure that we protect our hospitals and we can protect people's lives. So, this says, at this point, these indicators either have been unfortunately met or on the verge of being met. It's why we're going to come up with new information to help people understand what comes next. But it is clearly, clearly a message that everyone needs to take maximum precautions now.  
And I want to amplify what Dr. Chokshi said earlier in the week. If you're over 65, if you're someone with one of those preexisting conditions like diabetes or heart disease, you need to stay in to the maximum extent possible, except for the most essential needs. And everyone has to do the hard work of continuing to distance and wear masks and take all precautions. This is a very serious situation. We all have to be part of the solution.