Saturday, January 2, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - JANUARY 2, 2021


7,814 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,321 Patients in the ICU; 786 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 7.45%

128 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.

"With 2020 now behind us, we can see brighter days ahead, but to get there quickly, it's going to take all New Yorkers staying smart and staying united," Governor Cuomo said. "We have the vaccine, and that is good news, but it will be months before we've reached critical mass, making it as important as ever that we do not let COVID fatigue get the best of us. The state is working around the clock with the medical community to not only ensure vaccines are distributed as quickly and efficiently as possible, but to also continue growing bed capacity so hospitals do not become overwhelmed. As daunting as it may seem after all this time, it's critical that the rest of us remain tough and keep up our efforts to slow the spread. We've already come so far and we will finally reach that light at the end of the tunnel if we all just do our part."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

·       Test Results Reported - 202,446

·       Total Positive - 15,074

·       Percent Positive - 7.45%

·       Patient Hospitalization - 7,814 (-72)

·       Patients Newly Admitted - 887

·       Hospital Counties - 56

·       Number ICU - 1,321 (+29)

·       Number ICU with Intubation - 786 (+10)

·       Total Discharges - 103,828 (+860)

·       Deaths - 128

·       Total Deaths - 30,337

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - JANUARY 1, 2021


7,886 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,292 Patients in the ICU; 776 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 7.52%

166 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Cuomo updates New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"As we enter this new year, New Yorkers should be energized with a bright hope for the future," Governor Cuomo said. "We know what we have to do to defeat this invisible enemy and we are reminded of what can be achieved when we come together and work toward a united solution. As we start 2021, I encourage all New Yorkers to look to their better angels and continue the practices we know stop the spread of this virus - wash your hands, socially distance, and wear a mask. I am confident that we will win this war together because we are New York Tough."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 219,253
  • Total Positive - 16,497
  • Percent Positive - 7.52%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 7,886 (-49)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 1,006
  • Hospital Counties - 54
  • Number ICU - 1,292 (+16)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 776 (+53)
  • Total Discharges - 102,968 (+839)
  • Deaths - 166
  • Total Deaths - 30,208

Follow Up Story or 'Political Hit Job' by the Norwood News


Image may contain: 3 people, text that says 'Proudly Serving Bronx Communities Since 1988 FREE NORWOOD NEWS Vol PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION NOVEMBER 5-18, 2020 ELECTION DAY CHILLS & THRILLS IN NORWOOD 2020 Election Local Lens: Immigration pg2 Father Son's Kitchen Rides Pandemic Wave| pg NORWOOD VOTERS CAST DAWN voting Election Photo 2020. DAWN driver health mental Over through- Bronx, borough (on1 dering parking convenience afforded pouring nearby RASKIN & Years Combined Persona Injury Law Experience 160 Broadway (4thFl.) New York, Bronx Office appointment only FULTON STREET Family Crash Victim Seek Funds Burial Guatemala LLP Million Dollars Recovered Our Clients 718-878-4858 212-587-3434 NAW CORTLANDT STREET'

 Having done a story about election day two days after the November election one has to wonder why the Norwood News is doing a follow up story two months later in January when nothing about the election has changed. We have received calls that the Norwood News is planning to do a follow up story on the November election, the challenger, just two political clubs who endorsed him in the 80th Assembly District race against the Democratic incumbent, and who are endorsing candidates in the upcoming 11th and or 15th City Council Special Elections. One person we talked to has said this is a 'Political Hit Job', by a newspaper which is a non-profit 501C3 run by Montefiore Hospital.

What is being considered is a statement said by this Republican candidate on December 13th at a Rally for Small Businesses in the Bronx, and the endorsement by the two political clubs whose only involvement is the writer of this blog. I took the photograph of one of the political club leaders and the candidate which was published on this blog October 14th, 2020. As for the other political club, I resigned as the Vice-Chair of that political club at the beginning of 2020. I also covered the December 13th Rally for Small Businesses which no one from the two political clubs attended. 

One has to wonder just who is behind this possible 'Political Hit Job' two months after the general election, when the political club of the 81st Assembly District held a 11th City Council Special Election Candidate's Forum for that political clubs endorsement. The forum was moderated by the club president and its previous district leader who both contributed to the clubs assemblyman's son who is a candidate in the 11th City Council. Aside from that the club under advice from its president said due to COVID-19 it was to dangerous to hold the annual club elections, but not to dangerous to hold an endorsement vote for the special election which he said would be held on March 9, 2021 with early voting to start on Saturday February 27th, two weeks before Judge-Elect Cohen was to resign from the city council. 

There are a few suspects who may be behind this possible 'Political Hit Job' by the Norwood News. Suspect Number One, is Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz who is well aware that his son is not getting the endorsement of the two political clubs the Norwood News is investigating. Assemblyman Dinowitz has provided funding to Montefiore Hospital, and had a satellite office in the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center. Suspect Number Two, is 11th City Council candidate Marcos Sierra who fails to mention that he was a staff member of the Norwood News which the new editor Sele Mahoney may not be aware of. Candidate Sierra falsely claimed that this reporter was in on a non existent pay to play scheme for a political club endorsement of a club this reporter was never a member of, and candidate Sierra made what Assemblyman Dinowitz said was a racially charged statement to this reporter. Suspect Number Three is Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez who may be seeking revenge on the two political clubs that endorsed her opponent, and they should be endorsing one of her opponents in the upcoming Democratic Primary for Bronx Borough President. It has also come to light that Assemblywoman Fernandez may have been helping challenging District Leader candidate Marcos Sierra over her incumbent District Leader who is the Chief of Staff for Councilman Rafael Salamanca one of her main opponents in the Bronx BP race. 

We will try to understand exactly why the editor of the Norwood News is passing over a relative story to the upcoming special election in the 11th City Council District, about a political club of Assemblyman Dinowitz whose son is a candidate in said special election, and who provided funding to the hospital that owns the 501C3 run Norwood News to do a story on a general election that happened two months ago, where none of the results has changed. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - DECEMBER 31, 2020


7,935 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,276 Patients in the ICU; 723 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 7.76%

136 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.

"Over the past year, New Yorkers faced the unimaginable and united together to show the nation that by staying smart and staying tough, we can overcome any challenge life throws our way," Governor Cuomo said. "As we move forward in a new year, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but how fast we get there all depends on what each of us does. Yes, the vaccine is here and yes, we are laser focused on ensuring hospitals do not become overwhelmed, but we cannot lose sight of our collective responsibility to slow the spread. As we begin 2021 and look forward to brighter days ahead, let us all use this time to celebrate smart and recommit ourselves to doing what we know works — wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and socially distancing — so we can win this war and finally put this invisible enemy to rest once and for all."

Today's data is summarized briefly below: 

  • Test Results Reported - 216,587
  • Total Positive - 16,802
  • Percent Positive - 7.76%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 7,935 (+43)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 995 
  • Hospital Counties - 53
  • Number ICU - 1,276 (+26)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 723 (+21)
  • Total Discharges - 102,129 (+834)
  • Deaths - 136
  • Total Deaths - 30,040


The death toll reported from COVID-19 in New York State has now surpassed 30,000.

Mayor de Blasio Says Watch New Year's Eve on Television, Gives His Last COVID-19 Indicators, and Proves his Media Availability Questions are Rigged



We have said that Mayor Bill de Blasio's Media Availability questions from reporters was a fraud, and today Hazel Sanchez from WCBS-TV proved our point. 

On the 6 PM WCBS-TV News reporter Hazel Sanchez reported on a story about the group of bicyclist that attacked a car with a man and his mother inside who feared for their lives. She also reported that she asked Mayor de Blasio about the incident reporting what the mayor had said almost word for word. Ms. Sanchez was the first to be called on by the moderator of the Mayor's Media Availability, and here is her question and the mayor's answer, as printed in the transcript of the Mayor's Media Availability.

Moderator: We'll now begin our Q-and-A. The first question today goes to Hazel Sanchez from WCBS.   


Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, Happy New Year to you.    


Mayor: Happy New Year, Hazel, how you feel?    


Question: I'm good. I'm good. You've probably seen that video of a group of bicyclists attacking a man in his mother inside his SUV. I spoke with a driver, Max Torgovnick, he's a lifelong New York City resident and he says he feels, he deserves answers from the city as to what allowed this to happen? And what is the city going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again?   


Mayor: Hazel is absolutely unacceptable. And, you know, you have these teenagers doing something that's just wrong, period. At least one has been arrested. The others will be. Look, we got to teach our young people better all the time. It's incumbent upon all of us, but we also have to have consequences. So, there will be consequences in this case. I don't want to ever see anything like this happen in New York City.    

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning New York City. This day is finally here, in less than 14 hours, it will be 2021. I could not be happier. I bet a lot of you feel the same way. We are so ready to kick 2020 out the door. And I just am feeling totally energized that the new year is going to be here and great things are going to happen. Tonight is going to be very special. Don't believe any doubting Thomases that say because there's not going to be a million people or more in Times Square that it's not going to be special. It's going to be actually arguably the most special, the most poignant, the most moving New Year's Eve. Everyone, watch it on television, don't go down there. Watch from home. But it's going to be powerful and think about it. We're going to be honoring our health care heroes and first responders and folks who did amazing work this year. Folks from the Cure Violence movement who did great work this year. All out there, small group observing the festivities and enjoying the festivities. But they'll be the people we truly have in our hearts because they're the folks who saw us through this year.  


But think about the performers too. Amazing cast of performers, New York City's own, the Bronx’s own Jennifer Lopez. That's for the Bronx. This is a great moment to have her highlighted as we bring in the new year. And my personal favorite, Gloria Gaynor will be singing, I will survive. I can't think of a more amazing, special and appropriate song for this occasion. I'm going to tell you, it's going to be very powerful, very special. Everyone, tune in. I guarantee you that Chirlane and I will push the button on time. In fact, we will be tempted to push the button early and start the new year early, but we will get there for sure. 2021, right around the corner. And we're going to do great things in 2021.  


And I’m going to talk about that today. I want to start with the most important New Year's resolution I could possibly offer you in the month of January 2021, we will vaccinate a million New Yorkers. A million people we will reach in January. This city can do it. The amazing health care professionals of this city are ready. We are going to set up new sites all over the city on top of the many, many sites that are already operational, we're going to expand from our hospitals and our clinics to community clinics, to locations we'll set up all over the neighborhoods of the city. Our goal is to get to upwards of 250 locations citywide. This is going to be a massive effort. This is going to be part of the largest single vaccination effort in the history of New York City. It's going to take a lot of work. It's going to take tremendous urgency and focus. And we will need help from the federal government. We will need help from the State government. We will need help from the vaccine manufacturers, but we're making clear to the whole world, we can achieve a million vaccinations in January. We get that help, we'll make it happen. We have the ability to make it happen on the ground. And we are anxious to get it done. Look, President-elect Biden said it right. This whole country is behind the pace it needs to be. We're going to need to go faster to beat back the coronavirus, to restart our economy, to protect people's lives, to recover. We've got to go faster. New York City will lead the way. We have the will. We have the sense of urgency. We have the capacity. We have the know-how. This is a chance for New York City to shine. And help achieve the President-elect’s goal.  


It is so clear that there's no reason, there's no reason for anything but urgency at this point. And that every single person we reach takes us one step closer to recovery. Now we are doing better than most of the country. That's the good news. But we're nowhere near where we need to be. 88,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated so far. That's great. 88,000 people is nothing to sneeze at. But we need to go into overdrive now. We need every day to speed up and reach more and more people. And we're committed to doing that. So, we know that we have the ability. We're going to do this with a really decentralized grassroots effort. We're going to go all over the city. We are going to create new hubs of activity. So, number one, new COVID vaccine hubs will be created all around the city on top of the locations we have, Two, Test and Trace sites will start to be locations for vaccination as well. Test and Trace has been very successful reaching to every corner of the city, protecting people. We're going to take that same capacity, use it to help us achieve more vaccinations. And three, we're going to scale up the capacity of local organizations that can do this work. We have so many tremendous partners on the ground. So many community-based organizations that could be part of this. And have the ability to reach people, move people, motivate people. They are going to be a part of this in a big way.  


So, all of this will be coordinated by our vaccine command center, lot of moving parts. But we can get it done again. Again, we need the federal government to be there with us, to be committed to this goal, to help us achieve it, to give us flexibility. We need the State government to work with us to keep this moving. We need the manufacturers to keep providing the doses. But that can be done. All those things can be done and we're going to make together, something very special happen here. What we will not allow to happen in New York City is for people to jump the line, use their wealth or their privilege to get vaccines that they should not be getting. We're already seeing this, unfortunately, around the country. Congressional staffers, jumping the line, even if they're not in a category that should be a priority. We're seeing pharmaceutical company executives jumping the line. We want the people who need the vaccine most to get it first. And we're going to stick to those priorities. And we're going to be aggressive about it. So, right now, of course, the focus on health care workers, the folks who have kept us safe, our heroes, who we need the most to keep safe, going forward. Focus on nursing home staff and residents. We're going to keep building out from there faster and faster. But we're going to make sure the distribution is based on equity and fairness. And as we get out into communities, that we focused on the communities hardest hit that unfortunately bore the brunt. They had the most cases, they had the most deaths and have the most need. So, we can do it in New York City, all of us together. And the person who's going to help us to lead the way with the incredible effort of his team, the Health Department, and they have a lot of great history, a lot of great success historically in vaccinations. Very, very proud to introduce on this auspicious day, our Health Commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi.  


Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. Well beating a virus is a team sport and we need every position on the field to come together. I saw this in such a poignant way yesterday when I visited a nursing home in my neighborhood in Queens. Residents and staff alike were getting vaccinated. I heard one resident say she couldn't wait to get her shot, but she asked her regular nurse to stay by her side while she was getting it for moral support. These are the small and large ways our health care heroes have quite literally moved the needle for the past couple of weeks. Resulting in over 88,000 vaccinations to date. But we will need to further accelerate our efforts to turn vaccines into vaccinations. One key to doing this as the Mayor mentioned is expanding points of access across our entire city. Our goal is to double the access points for vaccination within a month from hospitals to community health centers, to urgent care clinics, totaling at least 250 sites across the five boroughs.  


Part of our strategy includes launching the first dedicated City vaccine hubs in the coming weeks. These are City operated vaccination clinics stood up rapidly as points of distribution in school gymnasiums and other sites. The first sites will launch in mid-January administering 45,000 doses per week with plans to expand over time if we get adequate supply of vaccine. We are picking the locations of these sites to help ensure access in our priority neighborhoods for the places and the people who have been hardest hit by this vicious virus, most often communities of color. In addition, the City has built an unprecedented testing apparatus through the Test and Trace Corps that can also be leveraged to administer vaccines at certain sites. Again, with a focus on hardest hit communities.  


Finally, the most essential partners have always been community organizations. Activating them by providing nurses and pharmacists to vaccinate onsite, in communities will provide capacity for several tens of thousands of vaccinations per week by the end of January. This is the kind of thing we do every year during flu season, supporting events at churches and community centers. But this would be like our flu campaign in overdrive. Growing capacity through these initiatives, along with our existing hospital, clinic, and pharmacy infrastructure gets us to the ability to administer a total of one million doses by the end of January. I do want to specify that these are aggressive goals. And this historic vaccination campaign is a team sport as I mentioned. We'll need blocking and tackling to run at the pace that we want from a number of partners, but particularly our colleagues in State and federal government. Swiftly extending guidance on the populations eligible for vaccination is particularly important. From hospital workers and nursing homes to other health care workers, first responders and of course our seniors. And we need a sufficient supply of vaccine with a clear roadmap of what New York City can expect to receive from the federal government, not just for next week, but for the months ahead. But if these elements of the game plan come together, we can move fast and travel far.    


Finally, we need New Yorkers themselves to choose to get vaccinated, but we'll help you by making sure your vaccine questions get answered, endeavoring to dispel misinformation, and doubling our access points to make it more convenient for you. Mr. Mayor, it's a particular honor for me to be able to join you on this last day of 2020. I wanted to conclude with some brief tailored messages. To my fellow health care workers, thank you so much for all you have done during this really tough year, but if you've gotten your vaccine, I have one more task for you, be sure to tell the story of why you got vaccinated and reach out to people who may still have unanswered questions. Our website has the resources you need. To hospital leaders, COVID-19 is not taking the weekend off, so I strongly urge you to schedule vaccination clinics over the weekend, too. And to all New Yorkers, I remain quite concerned by the increase in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across our beloved city. It's not too late to cancel your New Year's Eve gathering plans and stay safe by staying home. And finally, to the year 2020, good riddance. I'm looking forward to a better year ahead.    


Mayor: Well said, Dave. Listen, I want to say to our Commissioner Dave Chokshi, thank you for your extraordinary work this year, for your team's amazing work, some of the other colleagues here as part of this press conference today, Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog, and Senior Advisor Jay Varma, and CEO of Health and Hospitals Mitch Katz, you've all been heroes this year. You really have been. You're all very modest people, so maybe I'm making you blush, but the fact is all of you have been heroes of 2020. All of you are going to be part of the history of this city, and you're going to be in the history books as people who made a tremendous positive difference for the people in New York City and your whole teams. Thank you, and I'm thanking you – I'm thanking you as individuals, but I'm also thanking you for the amazing teams you've assembled and the amazing work you've all done.   


And listen, talking about team, I'm going to pick up right word Dave started, talking about team. This is going to be a team effort to reach one million vaccinations in January. We're going to work with the whole community. We’re going to work with the whole health care world. We're also going to call all city agencies to be part of this. So, as Dave mentioned, you know, you talk about a school gymnasium, Department of Education is going to be a part of this. Think about public housing, NYCHA, our community centers. We're going to be out there in NYCHA developments over the months ahead there are going to be a crucial piece of this as well. We are going to focus intensely on the communities that need help the most, communities that bore the brunt, and our public housing residents certainly bore the brunt of this crisis. So, in January and beyond, you're going to see this grow, be more and more grassroots, more and more people getting involved, leaders, agencies, institutions, parts of the community, you name it. This is going to be an extraordinary effort. I wanted to do a special thank you to the State of New York. We've been working really closely with our State partners over these last weeks, determining how to do something that's never been done before. This is a brand-new vaccine, brand new type of vaccine. We've had to be really smart and careful about getting it implemented. We're working well with the state to figure out the steps and we're working together to figure out how to do this as quickly as humanly possible. So, thank you to everyone in the State government who has worked so hard throughout this year, Governor Cuomo and his whole team, we appreciate all the work we've done together. And we are going to, together, find a way to push harder and we're all together going to push the federal government to do its share and the manufacturers to do their share, so we can really go into overdrive here.    


All right, now, there’s a lot of good news, a lot of good news ahead. 2021 is going to be a good news year, but 2020 is going to go down in history as one of our saddest, toughest years, arguably the toughest year in the history of New York City. Thank God we all came through those of us who made it, but we got to remember those who didn't make it. We got to remember those we lost, and we've got to be there with their families every day. All the families who lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you. You're in our thoughts and prayers all the time. We know this has just been incredibly difficult to go through this pain without the chance to mourn in so many cases, without the chance to be with loved ones. So, it's important that we have a day of remembrance. It's important that we have a day going forward in the future of the city to always remember what happened in 2020, to remember those we lost, to honor them, to honor their families. And, of course, at the same time, remember all the heroism, all the people who did so much good to protect people. The day we lost our first New Yorker to COVID in this year was March 14th, 2020, next March 14th, 2021 will be a day of remembrance in New York City. We need to recognize 25,000 of our fellow New Yorkers gone. That's something we have to always mark going forward. And we got to remember them by one, being there for their families, by two, honoring those who did so much to try to save them and three, by working to make this city better all the time in their memory. So many we lost were victims of the disparities and inequality in our society and this is not a shocking statement to anyone who's been watching. So many people we lost had never gotten enough health care in their lives and didn't get their fair share no matter how hard they worked. So many people we lost were victims of still too much discrimination and racism in our society. We lost people of every background. We lost people of every income level. Every neighborhood, this tragically was a disease that affected everyone, but it did not affect everyone equally. So, on March 14th each year, we remember also the painful lessons we learned but it’s a time to rededicate ourselves to making a difference and changing things. A day to look back, but it will always also be a day to look forward and say, how can we do better so we never lose people again, and we have a city that is there for everyone going forward.    


So before – I now move forward to what we do every single day, which is our daily indicators. I do want to take a moment since it's a very special time of year, obviously we've had holidays of many faith, traditions, Christmas, and Hanukkah, and so many important holidays that people have celebrated, so many times when people restored faith and hope. And we of course are looking forward to tonight and tomorrow, but here we are still in Kwanzaa, and it's so good to talk about Kwanzaa and the Kwanzaa principles. And this is something we're really highlighting this year. We're going to do in a very big way next year, because these principles say so much to us, so much positive, so much helpful, and that is really moves us forward and helps us think about where we need to go. Each – at the beginning of the day, the phrase Habari Gani, which means what's the news? And then the answer is the principle of that day, today is Kuumba, and that means creativity. And I want to celebrate the creativity of New Yorkers, the resourcefulness, the ingenuity of New Yorkers in the year 2020. It was unbelievable. The things people did this year to help each other. Talk about making a way where there was no way. In the year 2020, New Yorkers had to create like never before, whether you're talking about what our health care heroes have to do to protect people and save our hospital system and our first responders, what they had to do and the incredible challenges they overcame. Or you’re talking about the way this city ended up creating its own ventilators, its own PPE, its own processing labs for tests, things we didn't have before. We created them all here, New York City know-how and we did it in record time. That's what New York City is all about. And just the way people helped each other and the way people expressed their own personalities, their own hope, their own belief, whether it's the design of a face mask or the ways people celebrate and supported each other, the cultural activities put together to support people, give them hope. This was a year for creativity if there ever was one. So, a lot to be proud of when it comes to the creativity of our people and we're going to see it blossom in 2021.    


Now we're going to go to our indicators. I'm going to, again, as we go through indicators, put a bit of a qualifier on that we've seen some pretty aberrant numbers the last few days. We obviously had the situation, a lot of people getting tested in advance of the holidays and then during the holidays test numbers were uneven, so you get a different kind of sample. But that being said, even though these numbers look somewhat skewed, they are still very cautionary and it’s important we focus on them. So, first, number one, daily number of people admitted to the New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19, today's report 199 patients. Obviously, the goal was 200, so we're just there. We want to drive that down. Hospitalization rate per 100,000, still way too high, 3.93, we want to get that back under two. Number two, daily number of new cases for COVID-19 seven-day average, today's number 3,259, way too high against the goal of 550. And number three, percentage of New York City residents testing positive for COVID-19 seven-day rolling average, very high number today, 8.87 percent. Again, that is probably aberrant based on uneven testing with the holidays, but still cautionary and troublesome and something we need to focus on, something we all need to act on. We want to get that number below five percent and keep driving it down. So, what can you do? You just heard your doctor, the people's doctor, tell you if you're thinking about going to some kind of large holiday gathering, just don't do it. I will borrow from Nike and modify the phrase, just don't do it. It doesn't make sense. Next year, you'll be able to celebrate all you want if we get this right, but if people keep getting sick because of doing the wrong thing, it's not going to speed our days of recovery to say the least. So please avoid large gatherings tonight. Keep it small, keep it simple. Stay home, stay close. Let's be healthy. Let's help each other. A few words in Spanish.    


[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]    


With that – and Feliz Año Nuevo while I'm at it. With that, let's turn to our colleagues in the media. Please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.   

Moderator: We'll now begin our Q-and-A. As a reminder, we're joined today by Dr. Chokshi, by Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog, by Dr. Katz, and by Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Varma. The first question today goes to Hazel Sanchez from WCBS.   




Winter Recreational Opportunities Available with Proper Preparation and Precautions

 The early snow and cold weather are providing good conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and other backcountry areas, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice, and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.


"With people still looking for outdoor activities during the pandemic, now is a great time to take advantage of all the winter recreation opportunities New York has to offer," Commissioner Seggos said. "However, winter conditions can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for the cold and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails where appropriate."   


Snow depths range greatly in the central and northeastern Adirondacks, with the deepest snows in the higher elevations like the High Peaks region and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Snow depths are thinner in the southeastern and northwestern Adirondacks. Much of the Catskill Mountains are covered in snow, with icy trail conditions. 


DEC recommends visitors to the backcountry carry snowshoes and trekking poles and use them when snow depths warrant. Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent "post holing," which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Crampons or other traction devices should be carried for use on icy portions of the trails including summits and other exposed areas.  An ice axe may be necessary above tree line in the High Peaks. Forest Rangers strongly advise that current trail conditions will make travel without properly fitting traction devices extremely difficult. Check out DEC’s website for further details on traction devices.   


Some seasonal access roads remain road open, however, with the potential for lake effect snow, the use of four-wheel drive vehicles is strongly recommended. Some seasonal access roads transitioned to snowmobile use once Northern Zone big game hunting season concluded. Check local club, county, and state webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile Webmap, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.   


Ice has begun forming on ponds, bays of lakes, slow moving streams, and backwaters of rivers. No ice is safe at this time. Although ice may have snow on the surface, it is not thick enough to hold the weight of a person. Ice will remain unsafe until temperatures fall below freezing for a significant continuous period.  

In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines  

  • Check weather before entering the woods - if the weather is poor, postpone your trip.   
  • Be aware of weather conditions at all times - if the weather worsens, head out of the woods.   
  • Dress properly with layers of clothing of wool, fleece, and other materials that wick moisture (not cotton): a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots.   
  • Carry a day pack with the following contents: Ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sunblock protection, ensolite pads, stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.   
  • Carry plenty of food and water. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry or dehydrated makes you more susceptible to hypothermia.   
  • Know the terrain and your physical capabilities - it takes more time and energy to travel through snow.   
  • Never travel alone and always inform someone of your intended route and return time.  

Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly. In an Emergency call 911. To request Forest Ranger assistance, call 518-408-5850, or in the Adirondacks, call 518-891-0235.  


DEC’s Adirondack Backcountry Information and Catskill Backcountry Information websites provide current trail conditions and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable backcountry winter experience. 


While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL and follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/DOH guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19.  

Ticketmaster Pays $10 Million Criminal Fine for Intrusions into Competitor’s Computer Systems


Ticketmaster Used Passwords Unlawfully Retained by a Former Employee of a Competitor to Access Computer Systems in Scheme to “Choke Off” the Victim’s Business

 Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Ticketmaster L.L.C. (Ticketmaster or the Company) agreed to pay a $10 million fine to resolve charges that it repeatedly accessed without authorization the computer systems of a competitor.  The fine is part of a deferred prosecution agreement that Ticketmaster has entered with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York to resolve a five-count criminal information filed today charging computer intrusion and fraud offenses.  Previously, on October 18, 2019, Zeeshan Zaidi, the former head of Ticketmaster’s Artist Services division, pled guilty in a related case to conspiring to commit computer intrusions and wire fraud based on his participation in the same scheme.  Both cases are assigned to U.S. District Judge Margo K. Brodie.

Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Field Office, made the announcement.

“Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme.  “Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic.  Today’s resolution demonstrates that any company that obtains a competitor’s confidential information for commercial advantage, without authority or permission, should expect to be held accountable in federal court.”

"When employees walk out of one company and into another, it's illegal for them to take proprietary information with them. Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law. This investigation is a perfect example of why these laws exist - to protect consumers from being cheated in what should be a fair market place,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

The Scheme to “Choke Off” the Victim Company

According to Ticketmaster’s admissions and publicly filed court documents, Ticketmaster, a wholly owned subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. (Live Nation), was primarily engaged in the business of selling and distributing tickets to events and concerts.  The victim company offered artists the ability to sell presale tickets – sold in advance of general ticket sales – on an online ticketing platform.  It also offered artists an Artist Toolbox (the Toolbox), which was a password-protected app that provided real-time data about tickets sold through the victim company. 

Instrumental to the criminal scheme was Coconspirator-1, a former senior employee of the victim company, who worked in the company’s Brooklyn, New York offices from approximately May 2010 to July 2012.  In approximately July 2012, Coconspirator-1 signed a separation agreement with the victim company, in which he agreed to maintain the confidentiality of that company’s confidential information.  He then joined Live Nation in approximately August 2013.

In November 2013, while employed by Live Nation, Coconspirator-1 shared with Zaidi and another Ticketmaster employee the URLs for draft ticketing web pages that the victim company had built for an artist, but had not disseminated to the public.  In response to a Ticketmaster executive explaining that the goal was to “choke off [victim company]” and “steal back one of [victim company]’s signature clients,” Coconspirator-1 offered that Ticketmaster could “cut [victim company] off at the knees” if they could win back presale ticketing business for a second major artist that was a client of the victim company.

Ticketmaster’s Intrusions Into the Victim Company’s Password-Protected Artist Toolboxes

In January 2014, Coconspirator-1 emailed Zaidi and a second Ticketmaster executive multiple sets of usernames and passwords for Toolboxes.  Coconspirator-1 encouraged the executives to “screen-grab the hell out of the system,” but also warned, “I must stress that as this is access to a live [victim company] tool I would be careful in what you click on as it would be best not [to] giveaway that we are snooping around.”  (Emphasis in original.)  The information from the Toolboxes was then used to prepare a presentation for other senior executives that was intended to “benchmark” Ticketmaster’s offerings against those of the victim company. 

In early May 2014, a senior executive of Live Nation (Corporate Officer-1) asked Zaidi and others how Ticketmaster’s presale online offering compared with the Toolbox.  Coconspirator-1 was then asked to “do a screenshare/demo” at an upcoming “Artist Services Summit.”  Coconspirator-1 agreed to “pull together a list of the log-ins and URL’s that I still have access to for this so I can give the team as much insight as possible.”  At least 14 Live Nation and Ticketmaster employees attended the Artist Services Summit, in San Francisco.  There, in front of those employees, Coconspirator-1 used a username and password he had retained from his employment at the victim company to log in to a Toolbox, and provided a demonstration.  Coconspirator-1 later also provided Zaidi and other Ticketmaster executives with internal and confidential financial documents he had retained from his employment at the victim company.

In January 2015, Coconspirator-1 was transferred to the Artist Services division, promoted to Director of Client Relations, and given a raise.  Following the promotion, Coconspirator-1 emailed another Artist Services employee, “Now we can really start to bring down the hammer on [Victim Company].”  Ticketmaster employees continued to access password-protected victim company Toolboxes through December 2015.

Ticketmaster’s Surveillance of the Victim Company’s Draft Ticketing Web Pages

Between approximately July 2014 and June 2015, Coconspirator-1 and others monitored draft ticketing web pages created by the victim company.  Although these pages were not password-protected, they were not indexed in search engines, and therefore could not be located without determining the exact URLs, which included a series of numbers.  Until the victim company or artist publicly disseminated a URL, the victim company intended to restrict access to itself and the artist.

After joining Live Nation, Coconspirator-1 explained to Zaidi and others how the “store ID” numbers in the URLs were numbered sequentially, enabling Ticketmaster employees to monitor new pages and to learn which artists planned to use the victim company to sell tickets.  Coconspirator-1 used this information to search for new victim company ticketing web pages, and sent the URLs to Ticketmaster executives.  In or about January 2015, a Ticketmaster employee was assigned to learn about this system from Coconspirator-1, and maintained a spreadsheet listing every victim company ticketing web page that could be located, so that Ticketmaster could identify the victim company’s clients and attempt to dissuade them from selling tickets through the victim company.  Zaidi explained that “we’re not supposed to tip anyone off that we have this view into [the victim company’s] activities.” 

The Deferred Prosecution Agreement and Criminal Information

Under the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement, Ticketmaster will pay a criminal penalty of $10 million and will maintain a compliance and ethics program designed to prevent and detect violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other applicable laws, and to prevent the unauthorized and unlawful acquisition of confidential information belonging to its competitors.  Ticketmaster will also report to the United States Attorney’s Office annually during the three-year term of the agreement regarding these compliance measures.  If the Company breaches the agreement, it will be subject to prosecution for the charges in the criminal information that was filed today, charging the Company with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, one count of computer intrusion for commercial advantage, one count of computer intrusion in furtherance of fraud, one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s New York Field Office.  The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Allon Lifshitz, Craig R. Heeren and Ian C. Richardson are in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendants:


E.D.N.Y. Docket No.  20-CR-563 (MKB)

Age:  46
New York, New York

Governor Cuomo Directs State Agencies to Prepare Emergency Assets as Multiple Storm Systems Will Impact the State over New Year's Weekend


Snow, Sleet and Freezing Rain Could Affect Travel for Several Days Across Much of New York

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed State agencies to prepare emergency assets and assist local governments as needed as multiple storm systems are expected to impact locations throughout the state with snow, sleet and freezing rain through the holiday weekend. Travel conditions are expected to be impacted, with areas in higher elevations likely seeing snow and mixed precipitation, while areas in lower elevations may see rain or ice accumulation up to a quarter of an inch in some places. Other locations should see a mix of sleet, rain and freezing rain. Due to multiple rounds of winter weather conditions, isolated power outages may also occur.

"As we head into New Year's weekend, a series of storms are poised to deliver snow, rain, and freezing rain throughout the state over the next several days," Governor Cuomo said. "State agencies are already preparing emergency response equipment and stand ready to assist any of our local partners if necessary. New Yorkers should also remember to celebrate smart this year. If anyone is traveling in the coming days, please use extreme caution while driving, especially during the evening and early morning hours, when temperatures may drop below freezing and turn the rain to ice."

As a cold front approaches the state later today, a wintry mix is expected to hit the North Country, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, and Southern Tier Regions, where some areas could see light snow accumulation.  Most other areas should see a mix of rain and sleet that will likely impact travel as temperatures hover around the freezing mark.

On Friday night, another storm will impact the state with accumulating snow and sleet, freezing rain and rain that will last into Saturday morning.  Areas in the Mohawk Valley and Central New York Regions could see 1 to 3 inches of snow or mixed precipitation, while locations in the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Capital District and Mid-Hudson Regions could see a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.  As the storm moves through the state, snow and mixed precipitation may quickly transition to freezing rain.  Rain may quickly freeze upon contact with the ground and cause hazardous driving conditions, especially on untreated roadways.

Forecasters are watching another storm system that could produce similar hazardous weather conditions on Sunday.

The National Weather Service continues to issue advisories, watches, and warnings for potentially hazardous winter weather conditions. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories, as well as current weather forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.



Tough goal can be achieved with more support and regulatory relief 

 Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced his ambitious New Year’s resolution for  New York City: administering 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of January. With the City’s new three-point plan to double its weekly capacity, and additional support from all levels of government and private partners, the City could increase the pace and scale of its vaccination effort to make this target achievable. This goal cannot be hit by the City alone, without expanded support and increased coordination at every level of government.

“Like any good New Year’s resolution, one million doses by the end of January is an ambitious goal to say the least,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are doing everything we can to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible, but to really pick up the pace, we need our federal and state partners on board—and fast. It will be tough, but I believe that we can do it.”


With the Vaccine Command Center helping to manage, triage, and coordinate the effort, the City aims to double its weekly capacity for vaccination—from hospitals, to community health care centers, to urgent care clinics—through a three-pronged plan. First, COVID-19 Vaccine Hubs will be launched across the city in January, where New Yorkers in neighborhoods across the city will ultimately  be able to go to access to a vaccine. Conveniently located testing NYC Heath + Hospitals testing sites will also serve as vaccination centers, in addition to continuing to provide ongoing  COVID-19 testing. The City is also calling on local organizations to scale up their capacity to administer vaccines quicker.


While the City is building out its capacity to ramp up vaccinations, continued and increased assistance from the State, Federal government, and private partners is needed to truly achieve these goals, including:

  • Receiving more concrete and comprehensive guidance in advance so that NYC can expand the number of eligible New Yorkers
  • Ensuring supply of the vaccine remains consistent, allowing the City to expand its reach to vaccinate more New Yorkers
  • Private partners: pick up pace of getting shots into arms and increase ability to offer more vaccines to more New Yorkers every day and every week


With all these pieces in play, this New Year’s Resolution is ambitious, but achievable.


“These goals are ambitious and tough, but not impossible, provided we get the support and teamwork we need from all our partners in this fight,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Hartzog. “We’re not rosy-eyed – we  know hitting the mark here hinges on several moving pieces working together and lots going right. That’s why we’re focused on doing everything we can to create a viable pathway to achieving it, bringing as many partners to the table as possible in the process in hopes of reaching as many New Yorkers as we can as quickly as possible.”


“These are ambitious goals, but we must be bold about turning vaccines into vaccinations swiftly—because it will save lives,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “One key is doubling points of access for vaccination across our entire City, including not just hospitals but also community health centers, urgent care clinics, pharmacies, and dedicated vaccine hubs.”