Saturday, February 13, 2021

Governor Cuomo Announces Mass Vaccination Sites to Increase Capacity for Individuals with Comorbidities and Underlying Conditions, Who Can Begin to Schedule Appointments Sunday Morning


Appointments Coming Online on Sunday and Throughout the Following Weeks at State Mass Vaccination Sites  

As of 11 AM today, New York's Health Care Distribution Sites Have Administered 90% of the Total First Doses Received from Federal Government    

Vaccine Dashboard Will Update Daily to Provide Updates on the State's Vaccine Program; Go to; Dashboard Now Includes Demographic Data   

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's vaccination program and announced that individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions can use the 'Am I Eligible' website starting tomorrow morning. As of 11AM today, New York's health care distribution sites have received 2,129,135 first doses and already administered 90 percent or 1,923,259 first dose vaccinations and 83 percent of first and second doses. The week 9 allocation from the federal government continues being delivered to providers for administration.      

"Our vaccine supply is going up, the positivity rate is going down and we're getting one step closer to winning the war against COVID each day," Governor Cuomo said. "The numbers show that we're moving in the right direction, and to maintain this trajectory we must win the footrace between vaccinating New Yorkers as quickly and fairly as possible and keeping the infection rate down. We have the infrastructure in place to get shots in arms as quickly as possible - we just need the supply to do it - and with a new leader in Washington we're finally beginning to get more supply, allowing us to open vaccination appointments up to New Yorkers with comorbidities starting next week. We can almost see the light at the end of this dark tunnel, and it is critical that all New Yorkers continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and act responsibly so that we can defeat this beast once and for all."     

The 'Am I Eligible' screening tool will be updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions at 8AM on Sunday, with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. Starting next week, local health departments will also receive vaccine allocations for these individuals. People can use the following to show they are eligible:

  • Doctor's letter, or
  • Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or
  • Signed certification 

Approximately 7 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. The federal government has increased the weekly supply by more than 20 percent over the next three weeks, but New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.     

Vaccination program numbers below are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state's vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government's Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11AM today is as follows. The allocation totals below include 80 percent of the week 9 allocation which will finish being distributed to New York provider sites on Sunday. The total week 9 allocation is also inclusive of some excess vaccine doses that have been reallocated from the federal Long Term Care Facility program.    


First Doses Received - 2,129,135

First Doses Administered - 1,923,259; 90%

Second Doses Received - 1,129,450

Second Doses Administered - 772,510    

NYPD Announces Citywide Crime Statistics for January 2021


 For the month of January 2021, New York City saw reductions in every major index crime with the exception of grand larceny auto (GLA). Overall index crime fell 21% compared with January 2020, driven by a 32% reduction in grand larceny (2546 v. 3788). There were also fewer murders in January 2021 compared to the previous year (25 v. 27). Shooting incidents, however, increased to 77 v. 66 in January 2020 (+16.7%).

The NYPD remains fully committed to curtailing gun violence on the streets of New York City. To that end, our officers continue to make increasing numbers of gun arrests across the five boroughs. For the month of January 2021, there were 486 gun arrests. This is an increase of 61.5% compared to January 2020, or +185 arrests – marking the greatest number of gun arrests for any January in the CompStat-era. Patrol Borough Brooklyn North and Patrol Borough Bronx are leading the way with 138 and 104 arrests, respectively. The NYPD continually monitors and analyzes trends in violence, shifting officers to areas experiencing upticks in shootings – addressing conditions in real time. There is a very small number of criminals who are the persistent drivers of violence, and the NYPD’s best investigators are continually working to build strong cases against these individuals and their associates.

“As we move into 2021, I remain very optimistic about the continuing work of the NYPD to improve both public safety and trust across New York City,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “All New Yorkers have weathered a great deal during 2020, but your NYPD cops remain undaunted in their vital work – not only driving down crime – but also engaging with our many community partners in order to build trust in every borough, in every neighborhood.”

Statistics on Index Crimes

 YTD 2021YTD 2020+/-%
Fel. Assault15141639-125-7.6%

Attorney General James Highlights Amazon’s Unsafe Working Conditions


 New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement in response to a legal action filed by Amazon:

“Throughout this pandemic, Amazon employees have been forced to work in unsafe conditions, all while the company and its CEO made billions off of their backs. This action by Amazon is nothing more than a sad attempt to distract from the facts and shirk accountability for its failures to protect hardworking employees from a deadly virus. Let me be clear: We will not be intimidated by anyone, especially corporate bullies that put profits over the health and safety of working people. We remain undeterred in our efforts to protect workers from exploitation and will continue to review all of our legal options.”

Governor Cuomo Announces COVID-19 7-Day Average Positivity Rate Drops Below 4% for First Time Since November 30


 7-Day Average Positivity Drops to 3.90%, Down 51% from Post-Holiday Peak in Early January & 36 Consecutive Days of Decline

Hospitalizations Drop to 6,888—Lowest Since Christmas Day, Down 916 Past Week, 26% Decline from Post-Holiday Peak in Mid-January

Statewide Daily Positivity Rate Drops to 3.46% —Lowest Since November 25

New York City 7-Day Average Positivity Rate Drops to 4.63%—Lowest Since Christmas Day, Down 28% from Post-Holiday Peak in Early January

1,328 Patients in the ICU; 908 Intubated

125 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

11 New UK Strain Cases in New York State

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State's 7-day average COVID positivity rate dropped to 3.90 percent, the lowest since November 29. The 7-day average positivity rate is down 51 percent from the post-holiday peak in early January and it has declined for 36 consecutive days. Hospitalizations dropped to 6,888, the lowest number since Christmas Day. Hospitalizations are down by 916 this week, a 26 percent decline from the post-holiday peak. The statewide positivity rate dropped to 3.46 percent, the lowest since November 25. New York City's 7-day average positivity rate dropped to 4.63 percent, the lowest since Christmas Day and a decrease of 28 percent from the post-holiday peak.

Eleven additional cases of the UK variant were identified in New York State. Eight were in New York City, two were in Suffolk County and one was in Rockland County, that county's first case. To date, there are 70 known cases of the variant in New York City and in the following counties: Saratoga, Warren, Onondaga, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Ulster, Essex, Jefferson, Tompkins, Allegany and Niagara.

"Hospitalization and infection rates are continuing to fall statewide and New Yorkers should be commended for all their hard work and sacrifice which helped make this a reality," Governor Cuomo said. "If we are to win this war against COVID once and for all, we must keep driving down these rates, as well as to get as many shots into arms as possible. New York has the determination, toughness and vaccination infrastructure to make all of this happen, but our success will ultimately be determined by our willingness to keep making the right decisions and I have every confidence that New Yorkers will continue to do just that."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 253,563
  • Total Positive - 8,763
  • Percent Positive - 3.46%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 3.90%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 6,888 (-180)
  • Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week - -916
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 766
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,328 (-30)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 908 (-33)
  • Total Discharges - 137,276 (+785)
  • Deaths - 125
  • Total Deaths - 37,009

Attorney General James Announces $800,000 Grant to Further Combat NYC Deed Theft


AG James Partners with New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Center for NYC Neighborhoods, and Enterprise Community Partners to Expand OAG’s “Protect Our Homes” Initiative

 New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an $800,000 grant to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods (Center) as part of an anti-displacement program aimed at increasing awareness of scams and deed theft in vulnerable neighborhoods. The program uses settlement funds obtained by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and includes a Homeowner Help Desk and a grassroots “support your neighbor” outreach campaign.

The OAG’s expansion of its “Protect Our Homes” initiative is a part of the New York State Anti-Displacement Learning Network, a $10 million program from Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) that works to preserve community stabilization and allows residents to remain in their homes in 10 municipalities and counties across the state. 

“COVID-19 has exposed and expanded the economic pressures New Yorkers were already under, and homeowners in gentrified areas throughout New York City continue to be targeted in schemes designed to steal their homes,” said Attorney General James. “Deed theft is a crime that threatens to rip away homeownership and perpetuates a terrible cycle of displacement. This initiative is critical to helping New Yorkers stay in their homes, and my office will continue to work alongside our government and community partners to combat these predatory and heartless crimes.”

The anti-displacement network grant is a dual-track program aimed at protecting homeowners at risk of financial distress, foreclosure, and displacement in South/Central Brooklyn, Southeast Queens, and the Northeastern Bronx. Using data analysis, the program will identify individual owners at higher risk of becoming the target of scammers and provide targeted outreach to these homeowners. Further, the anti-displacement network grant will support the expansion of the Homeowner Help Desk, which will be staffed by nonprofit housing experts. In addition to individual outreach, the program also includes a comprehensive outreach campaign to provide communities with the information and resources needed to protect themselves and their neighbors against scams. The Homeowner Help Desk will tailor its outreach and services to the most at-risk communities of color, focusing on the specific need to disrupt patterns of fraud, speculation, and displacement, as well as protect home equity built over decades.

“New York City takes the threat of deed theft and scams seriously, and we want to make sure struggling homeowners get the help they need to keep their homes, maintain safe, quality housing, and build equity that can be passed on to the next generation,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “Especially in light of the economic effects of COVID-19, we are glad to have the support of Attorney General Letitia James as we work with the Center and so many others to actively reach out to vulnerable homeowners.”

“We are thrilled to work in partnership with the OAG, HPD, and Enterprise to deploy our Homeowner Help Desk so that New Yorkers can protect their homes, assets, and hard earned equity from scams and displacement,” said Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director of Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “The Help Desk is an especially critical tool for supporting and stabilizing communities of color, reducing the racial wealth gap, and empowering homeowners and their neighbors.”

“Enterprise is pleased to fund this important strategy to ensure that homeowners have the assistance and resources to stay in their homes,” said Elizabeth Zeldin, Director of Enterprise Community Partners. “The ‘Protect our Homes’ expansion is a critical strategy to prevent deed theft and scams and to promote stable homeownership in key NYC neighborhoods.”

Deed theft has become a common tool of career criminals and unscrupulous real estate developers to illegally obtain real estate so they can sell it at a huge profit in high-demand housing markets, like Brooklyn. This illegal scheme especially affects people of color, the elderly, and other vulnerable homeowners who are scammed into signing over the deeds to their homes to con artists. Deed theft usually happens when scammers forge deeds to look like they purchased the home, or when homeowners are tricked into signing their homes over to a scammer without knowing what they are doing. Scammers then seek to evict the homeowner and sell the house to a third party at a significant profit.

In January 2020, Attorney General James launched the office’s “Protect Our Homes” initiative, a program that uses prevention and enforcement actions to combat deed theft in New York City. The OAG also formed an interagency deed theft taskforce with members including the district attorneys from all five boroughs in New York City and the Office of the Sheriff of the City of New York. The anti-displacement program builds off these efforts by focusing on the neighborhoods most at-risk of deed fraud, enlisting community members to talk about deed theft with their neighbors, and educating community members about how to spot deed fraud scams.

Those who believe they have experienced deed theft are encouraged to contact the OAG by calling the help line at 1-800-771-7755, emailing, or filling out the online complaint form

322 Days and Counting


I still have 322 days to go in office.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Councilman Mark Gjonaj's NYC Moving Forward Week in Review - 2/12/2021


Dear Friends,

As we enter this Valentine’s Day weekend, this pandemic-era holiday reminds us that through thick and thin,  obstacles, hardships and uncertainties - love still prevails and has kept us together during these difficult times.

We are glad that just in time for Valentine’s Day, indoor dining is back in NYC at 25%, a step in the right direction to cautiously bring back this industry, but obviously not enough to save them. 

While more than ever businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and their employees on the books, I am glad that as Chair of NYC Council Committee on Small Business, I co-sponsored a bill that passed NYC Council, to extend the moratorium on the City enforcing storefront signage rules for another two years. The midst of a global health pandemic, is not the time to saddle our city’s mom-and-pop shops with additional fees and burdens.

The COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help us get back to normal, but the shortage and difficulty to get an appointment and navigate the system is creating problems for seniors and other categories who are eligible. It is great to see that 
Montefiore-Einstein is now offering eligible individuals appointments for the vaccine. by calling 1-844-444-CV19 to schedule an appointment. Yankee Stadium continues to be a mass vaccination site open for Bronx residents by appointment only by calling 1.833.SOMOSNY or visiting somosvaccinations.

The submission deadline to apply for NYC Council discretionary funding for not-for-profit community organizations is on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 and you can still apply at:

Remember we have been with you throughout this pandemic and you can count on us with your issues, needs and concerns. We are proud that we have been able to assist so many in need in District 13 as we have given out over 81,000 food boxes, 66,000 masks and so much more. 

Although this Valentine Day, testing, taking the vaccine, masking and social distancing are all love language, please find ways to connect with your loved ones by calling and checking on them, support your local restaurants, your local flower shop or your bakery. 

Happy Valentine’s Day and do not hesitate to contact my office at 718-931-1721 or email at


NYC Councilman Mark Gjonaj
District 13, Bronx



Two on-site senior vaccination clinics to launch week of February 15th

 Mayor de Blasio today announced a three-pronged plan to vaccinate homebound seniors and the essential frontline home care workers who care for them. Beginning next week, the City will launch on-site senior vaccination clinics and, with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in March, stand up a vaccination drive for homebound seniors. To minimize risk for homebound seniors throughout the month of February, the City will aim to vaccinate 25,000 home health aides over the next month, offering dedicated appointments in the areas where they live and work. 


"We are moving heaven and earth to get our senior neighbors vaccinated", said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Now, we are bringing vaccines to seniors right in their communities, ensuring our vaccines go to those who need them most.”


“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked to safeguard and protect our homebound older adults, one of the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19. This plan safeguards their health in a comprehensive manner – vaccinating them close to home and vaccinating homecare workers, who throughout the pandemic have continued visiting and caring for older adults in their home. We are grateful to all homecare workers , who are among New York’s heroes and grateful to our City agency partners and community-based partners who are working together to protect our homebound older adults,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez.


To meet seniors where they are, the City will set up vaccine clinics at DFTA retirement communities and HPD Senior Buildings. Two on-site vaccination clinics will launch the week of February 15th, with additional locations to be identified and prioritized in the coming weeks:


  • Warbasse Cares Program (2844 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn)
  • Morningside Retirement & Health Services (100 LaSalle Street, Morningside Heights)


The City will also ramp up vaccination for homecare aides, home health aides, and personal care aides. These aides will receive priority appointments at City vaccine sites, as well as increased access to five City workforce hubs. The City will also launch new sites dedicated to serving this population.


Given the instability of the mRNA vaccine, the City will begin using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when it is available to provide in-home vaccination for homebound seniors. With the help of City agencies, such as FDNY, and our home health care partners, the City aims to provide in-home vaccinations for thousands of homebound seniors. 


"Vaccinating vulnerable seniors is a key component of our City's recovery effort and equity plans," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Melanie Harztog. "From opening dedicated vaccine sites for older adults to developing plans to deliver Johnson & Johnson vaccine directly to them at home, these creative strategies will help ensure we reach and protect NYC residents most at risk."


“Vaccinating homebound older adults where they live is crucial to protecting their health and safety,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “Our seniors are among the most vulnerable to this virus, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to protect them.”  


New York City Man Charged With Threatening To Kill Current And Former Elected Officials


 Southern District of New York

 Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, announced that RICKEY JOHNSON, a/k/a “Nigel Dawn Defarren,” was arrested last night based on a criminal Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court charging JOHNSON with making threatening interstate communications and threatening United States officials.  JOHNSON allegedly posted public videos on Instagram in which he threatened to kill a United States Senator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, other current and former elected officials, and several cable news broadcasters. JOHNSON will be presented before United States Magistrate Gabriel W. Gorenstein in Manhattan federal court today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Rickey Johnson allegedly threatened to kill several cable news broadcasters and current and former U.S. Senators and members of the House in rage-fueled posts on Instagram and in chilling private messages.  Among the many great freedoms Americans enjoy is the right to engage in political discourse, and disagreements are natural and healthy; but when invective metastasizes into threats of harm or even death, law enforcement will act swiftly to bring the person responsible to justice.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “Rickey Johnson, as alleged in this federal complaint, took aim at the foundations of our shared democracy and way of life, threatening not only elected United States officials but several working journalists. From the earliest stages of this investigation, the NYPD Intelligence Bureau and our partners in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York worked closely to make sure this individual would be brought to justice.”

As alleged in the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court[1]:

On January 30, 2021, JOHNSON sent a private message to a cable news broadcaster that threatened, “you will all be held accountable . . . you will be killed.”  JOHNSON’s message threatened by name two additional broadcasters.  On February 3, 2021, JOHNSON posted public messages in which he stated that he intended to “kill” two of the same broadcasters.

On February 4, 2021, JOHNSON posted public messages threatening, among others, a United States Senator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, a former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and a governor.  For example, JOHNSON declared that the Senator was “dead” and would be “executed,” that JOHNSON was “going to kill” the Representative, and that the governor “will be executed” and “will be killed.”  In a public post directed principally at the former Speaker, JOHNSON stated: “I am going to kill you.  I’m gonna kill all of you.”

*                      *                      *

RICKEY JOHNSON, 47, of New York, New York, is charged with making threatening interstate communications, which carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and threatening United States officials, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.  The maximum potential penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD, the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau, Leads Investigation Unit, and the NYPD’s 23rd Precinct Field Intelligence Team. 

The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew J. DeFilippis and Patrick R. Moroney are in charge of the prosecution.

The charge contained in the Complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.

Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez - Tax Prep and Financial Counseling Discussion



On Tuesday, February 16th, our office will be co-hosting a discussion 

about Free Tax Preparation and Financial Counseling.

The discussion will be held between 5:30pm - 6:30pm.

Please follow this link to be directed to the zoom discussion.

We invite you to join and listen in on this discussion as we are joined by:

  • NYC Consumer and Worker Protection
  • NYC Free Tax Prep
  • Financial Empowerment Center


Best Regards,

New York State Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez

Governor Cuomo Feb. 12, 2021 COVID-19 Indicators and Announces Restaurant and Bar Closing Times to be Extended to 11 P.M. Statewide Beginning Sunday, February 14

7,068 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide - Lowest Since Christmas Day - Hospitalizations down 869 in Past Week

 1,358 Patients in the ICU; 941 Intubated
Statewide 7-Day Average Positivity Rate is 4.04% - Lowest Since November 30 - 35 Consecutive Days of Decline

NYC 7-Day Average Positivity Rate is 4.75% - Lowest Since December 26, Down 26% from Early January Peak

Statewide Daily Positivity Rate is 3.54%

NYC Daily Positivity Rate is 3.91% - Lowest Since December 19

135 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that given the continued decline in hospitalization and infection rates throughout New York, closing times for restaurants and bars will be extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. statewide beginning Sunday, February 14. 

"Our decisions are based on science and data and we adjust as the virus adjusts. The infection rate and hospitalizations have continued to significantly decline," Governor Cuomo said. "Accordingly, we have adjusted with arena and catering hall openings with rigorous testing and limited capacity indoor dining openings in New York City. We will also move the restaurant and bar closing hour from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. statewide on Sunday. We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 237,134
  • Total Positive - 8,404
  • Percent Positive - 3.54%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 4.04%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 7,068 (-274)  
  • Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week - -869
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 760
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,358 (-44)  
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 941 (+0)
  • Total Discharges - 136,491 (+834)
  • Deaths - 135
  • Total Deaths - 36,882



 Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement in response to revelations that the Cuomo administration deliberately withheld information about the true toll of COVID-19 in nursing homes in order to avoid an investigation by the Department of Justice.

"The new revelations about both the facts and motivations behind covering up the true toll of the state's mismanagement of nursing homes amid this pandemic are appalling. In trying to avoid Donald Trump's wrath, the Governor instead imitated him.

"In the face of the pandemic, Governor Cuomo asked for and received unprecedented powers to make complex decisions, and he has used them to sideline health advisers, subvert oversight, and shield himself from liability for decisions that have cost New Yorkers' lives. Not only has he skirted accountability, he has avoided even an apology to those who have lost family members as a result of decisions he made. His current rush to reopen amid emerging variants and disparate vaccination distribution- combined with past errors at the onset of the pandemic that made New York the epicenter of the epicenter- further demonstrates the consequences of his unchecked, unrepentant authority.

"Many months ago, I joined Borough President Eric Adams and a coalition of elected officials from across the country in calling for a Department of Justice investigation of city and state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic-- because justice must be pursued, regardless of party. I repeat that call now, under a new federal administration but out of the same moral obligation and with renewed moral outrage at the arrogance the Governor continues to show in making dangerous, misguided decisions and refusing to face the consequences." - If there were ever an emergency


 Alexandria just reintroduced a bill in Congress with Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Earl Blumenauer to require President Biden to declare a national climate emergency.

If Congress demands a climate emergency, Biden can redirect billions of dollars of funding toward the production of renewable energy, create millions of high-wage jobs, and upgrade the public infrastructure to expand access to clean and affordable transportation, high-speed broadband, and water.

In 2019, Alexandria and her colleagues introduced a similar resolution and received support from 100+ representatives. Now we have a chance to get majority support with Democrats in control of the House and Senate.

If we’re going to pass this bill and unlock more than 100 presidential powers to tackle the climate crisis, we need to mobilize.

We need to start calling this moment what it is: a national emergency. We are out of time and excuses. Even Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed that Biden should declare a climate emergency.

Congress has the power to do it, and they must act. Alexandria is helping lead the way, but she needs the support of a grassroots movement fighting alongside her.

Team AOC has trained hundreds of volunteers who make calls every Saturday during our Green New Deal deep canvassing phone banks to talk with everyday people in our district and beyond about the importance of building back our economy fossil free. All of your support helps us mobilize more volunteers, make more calls, and grow our power for climate justice.

If we want to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, ensure that our nation has an equitable economic recovery, and prevent yet another life-altering crisis – then we need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and invest in building a just and fair fossil free future.

Team AOC

Governor Cuomo Announces More than 130,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Administered in 24 Hours


132,057 First and Second Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Administered in 24 Hours; 2 Million Doses Administered To-date

As of 11AM today, New York's Health Care Distribution Sites Have Administered 90% of the Total First Doses Received from Federal Government

Vaccine Dashboard Will Update Daily to Provide Updates on the State's Vaccine Program; Go to; Dashboard Now Includes Demographic Data 

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 132,057 first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the last 24 hours. New Yorkers on the state's vaccination program. As of 11AM today, New York's health care distribution sites have received 2,065,595 first doses and already administered 90 percent or 1,860,196 first dose vaccinations and 82 percent of first and second doses. The week 9 allocation from the federal government continues being delivered to providers for administration.

"Defeating COVID once and for all ultimately comes down to winning the footrace between vaccinating New Yorkers as quickly and fairly as possible, and continuing to do all we can to drive down infection and hospitalization rates even further," Governor Cuomo said. "Those rates are continuing to fall and that is a direct result of New Yorkers continuing to act smartly and responsibly. We must keep up that momentum and as we do, we will continue doing everything we can to get shots in arms as quickly, efficiently and fairly as possible - we just simply need more supply and now that we have competent leadership in Washington, we're actually now beginning to see that happen."

Approximately 7 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. The federal government has increased the weekly supply by more than 20 percent over the next three weeks, but New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

Vaccination program numbers below are for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state's vaccination program, and do not include those reserved for the federal government's Long Term Care Facility program. A breakdown of the data based on numbers reported to New York State as of 11AM today is as follows. The allocation totals below include 60 percent of the week 9 allocation which will finish being distributed to New York provider sites on Sunday. The total week 9 allocation is also inclusive of some excess vaccine doses that have been reallocated from the federal Long Term Care Facility program.


First Doses Received - 2,065,595

First Doses Administered - 1,860,196; 90%

Second Doses Received - 1,080,550

Second Doses Administered - 719,133



 Margaret Garnett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), announced today the arraignment of a Staten Island landlord on a charge of providing a false certification of correction for a lead-based paint violation issued to him by the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”). HPD is responsible for issuing housing violations for lead-based paint conditions. DOI began its investigation after HPD reported the apparent false certification to DOI. The Office of the Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon is prosecuting this case.

 DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, “Lead-based paint violations are serious hazards that if uncorrected pose great danger to tenants living inside the affected apartment. Landlords who ignore these conditions, or worse, provide false documentation to the City to avoid paying penalties, must be held accountable for their negligence and attempts to circumvent the law. DOI thanks the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for their prosecution of this matter.”

 Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, "This defendant, who is a landlord of a Staten Island apartment building, has been charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree for allegedly submitting fake lead-abatement paperwork. Lead paint poses serious potential health risks, especially in children, and anyone who would falsify such paperwork concerning its safe removal must be held responsible. I want to thank the Department of Investigation for their assistance with this case, as well as ADA Jonathan Chananie, head of RCDA’s Public Corruption Unit, for prosecuting this case.”

 SERGEY KRIKUNOV, 56, of Staten Island, N.Y., is charged with one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E Felony. Upon conviction, a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.

 According to the criminal complaint and DOI’s investigation, in October 2019, KRIKUNOV, was the landlord at 283 Van Duzer Street and submitted lead abatement-related paperwork for one of the building’s apartments, including a certificate of correction for a lead-based paint violation that was purportedly performed by Jerome Environmental Services, LLC. An HPD employee reviewing KRIKUNOV’s submission noticed that the letterhead for Jerome Environmental Services, LLC on the certification did not match what the company would normally submit and contacted Jerome Environmental Services, LLC, which confirmed it had not conducted abatement work at the property. HPD referred the matter to DOI investigators who conducted interviews with HPD personnel and employees of Jerome Environmental Services, LLC, the tenant in the apartment, who stated the landlord had painted the walls himself, and reviewed paperwork filed by the defendant. The investigation determined that Jerome Environmental Services, LLC had not performed any lead-abatement work at the apartment in question and did not issue the purported certificate of correction the defendant submitted as part of his filing with HPD.

 HPD inspected the apartment where the lead-based paint violations were issued, cleaned the areas, and tested them for residual levels of hazardous lead dusts several times since the discovery of the alleged falsified certification. Upon HPD’s final inspection, the apartment passed.

 Commissioner Garnett thanked City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll and Richmond District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, and their staffs, for their cooperation and assistance in this investigation.

  The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Office of the Inspector General for HPD, specifically Special Investigator Eric Johnson, under the supervision of Inspector General Jessica Heegan, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Dominick Zarrella, and First Deputy Commissioner Daniel Cort. 

A criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty



Later Funding Phases Reached More Small Businesses, Minority Neighborhoods

 New York City was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, but many small businesses hit hardest were initially left out of the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because they faced difficulties meeting the program’s rigid requirements and lacked access to major lenders, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“The PPP was meant to be a lifeline for struggling small businesses, but it has proven difficult for many of New York City’s mom-and-pop operations to navigate,” DiNapoli said. “Federal lawmakers have made changes that better focus the program on reaching small businesses and the additional funding is a welcome shot in the arm. Lawmakers and administrators should keep modifying the program to make sure aid reaches the communities and industries most affected by the scourge of the pandemic.”

One of the key federal legislative provisions aimed at mitigating the pandemic’s damage to the nation’s economy was the creation of the PPP, designed to help small businesses and sole proprietors. The program offers low-interest, forgivable loans for small businesses that could be used to cover payroll costs, rent and utilities. The maximum amount borrowers can request through the program is $10 million. Washington allocated a total of $953 billion for the PPP in three rounds of funding in March ($349 billion), April ($320 billion) and December ($284 billion).

Phase One of PPP Left Out Hardest Hit Small and Minority Businesses

DiNapoli’s report noted that during Phase One, the program’s requirements prevented or discouraged small businesses from applying. The PPP initially required that 75 percent of loan funds be used to cover payroll costs (later lowered to 60 percent) in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. For smaller family-run businesses, payroll can often be a much smaller share of operating costs. In New York City, four-fifths of businesses have fewer than 10 employees.

Many major lenders only accepted PPP applications from customers with existing accounts. Prior to the pandemic, the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that businesses in communities of color were the most cash-strapped and the least likely to have existing relationships with large banks. Many major lenders only accepted applications for the PPP program from customers with existing accounts. While most PPP loan records did not contain information on the race and ethnicity of business owners, many of the Bronx neighborhoods where businesses received fewer loans had higher concentrations of Hispanics and African Americans than the Manhattan and Staten Island neighborhoods where more loans were granted.

In the first phase of PPP loan disbursements, which began in April 2020, an average of 7 percent of all businesses in the city received loans, though the share varied widely by neighborhood. Of the 55 neighborhoods in the city, 46 had below-average shares of businesses receive loans, underscoring how heavily concentrated the loan disbursements were in just one-fifth of the city’s neighborhoods.

Only three neighborhoods had more than 10 percent of their businesses receive loans in Phase One: Chelsea/Clinton/Midtown in Manhattan, and Tottenville/Great Kills/Annadale and New Springville/South Beach in Staten Island.

In Brooklyn, only Brooklyn Heights/Fort Greene was above the citywide average at 7.7 percent, while in Queens, only Sunnyside and Woodside surpassed the average, with 9.3 percent of businesses receiving loans in Phase One. All other neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, and every neighborhood in the Bronx, got a lower-than-average share of business loans.

Later Phases of Program More Successful

In Phase Two, 38.6 percent of businesses received loans through the program. In addition, loan distribution was more even, with 40 neighborhoods above the citywide average of 41 percent. The distribution also became more equitable with small loans accounting for 31.6 percent of loans disbursed. Congress expanded the period of eligible costs and extended the minimum loan repayment term. In addition, many lenders also sought out new clients without established banking relationships.

Through the program’s two phases, 45.6 percent of city businesses received PPP loans, slightly below the national average of 50.9 percent. Although they lagged in participation, the average loan size to city businesses was $143,500, higher than the national average of $100,700. New York City received a total of $18.1 billion in loans through the program.

DiNapoli’s report found in New York City’s:

  • Construction industry PPP loans covered 57 percent of wages, while 48.2 percent of firms participated in the program. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants and hotels, had 50.4 percent of wages covered by the program, with 50.8 percent of businesses receiving PPP loans. Both sectors were below the national averages of 59.3 percent and 57.9 percent respectively.
  • Personal services firms, including salons, funeral homes and others, 59.7 percent of wages were covered by the PPP, though only 32.4 percent of firms participated; both of these levels were significantly below the national average of 67.6 percent.
  • Retail sector received loans covering 34.6 percent of wages, with 48.5 percent of businesses participating in the program. Though New York City retail businesses received a slightly higher share than retail firms in the nation, they had a lower share of wages covered, and had the smallest average loan size of any industry sector at $73,200.

Phase Three: Further Enhancements but Additional Monitoring Needed

Federal lawmakers revamped much of the program in Phase Three to better target funds to small businesses. Earmarks of funds within Phase Three may also lead to greater diversity among borrowers, and to an increase in the level at which smaller businesses participate. The act provided $35 billion for first-time borrowers targeted in low-income communities, including $15 billion to businesses with no more than 10 employees.

Washington expanded the permitted uses for funds received through the program and allows certain businesses that have already received a PPP loan to apply for second-draw loans, limited to $2 million. Second loans would generally be available for businesses with 300 employees or less that can demonstrate financial losses. These enhancements should help to ensure that loan distribution is improved and that loans are available for all small businesses that need them, both in New York City and across the country.


The Paycheck Protection Program in New York City: What’s Next?