Doctors in NYC Hospitals, Jails, and Shelters Call on the City to Take More Aggressive Action to Combat the Spread of Coronavirus

From NYC Council Members Brad Lander and Ritchie Torres:

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As public representatives, we have been talking with constituents, public health experts, schools, and city officials about how to balance the urgent need to slow the spread of coronavirus with the need to continue providing services, maintain public order, and lessen the hardships on families and vulnerable populations. In that spirit, we are sharing the following letter, provided to us by a group of doctors working in the City’s hospitals, jails, clinics and shelters, which calls for the City to rapidly take far more aggressive steps (as they term it: “enforced solidarity”) to halt community spread.


March 12, 2020

An Open Letter to Mayor de Blasio and City Officials

As doctors and public health officials working in the City’s hospitals, jails, clinics, and shelters, we are extremely anxious about the impact of the COVID-19 virus on vulnerable populations and by the City’s hesitance to take more dramatic action. Given the information we have about the exponential growth of the virus and the limited capacity of our health system to care for the number of people who will become sick and need care at the same time, we believe that aggressive measures must be taken now. Actions taken now to encourage and facilitate what we are calling enforced solidarity (a more accurate description than social distancing) will mitigate the impact of the virus on vulnerable populations and our health system.

We call on the City to:

Act immediately and boldly to slow the spread of the virus:

Take steps to strengthen the social safety net to protect vulnerable New Yorkers.

We are grateful for the City’s caution and attention to the impact of the coronavirus and associated response on vulnerable populations. We urge the City to begin taking more aggressive steps to shut down business as usual to slow community spread, while also increasing support for vulnerable populations.


Doctors and public health officials working in NYC’s hospitals, jails, clinics, and shelters

Deputy Leader for Policy @NYCCouncil. @NYCProgressives co-founder. Proud husband of Meg Barnette. Park Slope dad. Love cities, baseball, public schools, @PB_NYC

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