Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move May 18, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Adams Calls for Knowledge of Pediatric Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined doctors and lawmakers to urge the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) to implement policies that use remote learning to educate parents and students about a condition detected in a growing number of children across the city and state that may be related to COVID-19. 

“As we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a new potential health threat has emerged related to the virus that seems to primarily affect children. While we are still learning about Pediatric Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome and its potential connection to COVID-19, we must arm parents with the knowledge we have available to keep children safe and healthy, particularly if they have tested positive for antibodies. Our remote learning platforms, which now reach over a million families across the city, provide the perfect tool to distribute regular updates and information that parents can use, particularly if they don’t have access to other resources. That’s why we are urging the Department of Education to incorporate this into their remote learning plan. At a time when we are still trying to understand more about this virus and how it affects people of all ages, education is still the best public health tool we have in our toolbox,” said Adams. 

The call comes as cases of a rare inflammatory condition potentially connected to COVID-19 called Pediatric Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) are rapidly growing, with 153 children sickened statewide, including 110 in New York City.

The syndrome has been compared to Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory disease that can be potentially fatal in children, and is characterized by symptoms such as fever that lasts at least five days, a rash, and a swollen and bumpy tongue. Other symptoms can include swollen hands and feet, bloodshot eyes, and swollen glands in the neck.

Of the children who have been sickened in the city, early data released by City Hall indicate minority children are being hit hardest: 24 percent of those infected are black, 14 percent are Hispanic, 10 percent are Asian, 9 percent are white, and 38 percent are of unknown ethnicity. 

Frontus on Digital Divide Amongst COVID-19

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Gravesend) released a statement on the Digital Divide and the 66th Anniversary of Brown v. Board, saying that the digital divide poses a threat to educational equality in a time of social distancing and New York should use federal stimulus funds to launch Phase 4 of its Broadband Program to build out the “final mile” of fiber optic infrastructure to reach underserved rural areas.

Since the landmark 1954 decision, May 17 has been known as “Decision Day.” Brown struck down the concept of separate but equal, barring segregated schools and other accommodations. But Frontus said that since the coronavirus outbreak, children in the 500,000 New York City households without internet access have struggled to access remote learning tools.  The city has scrambled to provide laptops and internet access to all students who need them. 

“The digital divide is a barrier to opportunity. If we don’t close it, another generation will be left behind,” Frontus said.

But Frontus said the city and state must also provide interim solutions. Other states have rushed to bridge the digital divide during the outbreak, Frontus said, nothing that parts of Texas have used booster towers to reach underserved communities, while buses have been deployed as mobile hotspots in California, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Even Google’s Project Loon, which deploys high-altitude balloons to bring internet service to remote areas, allows for rapid deployment in a crisis, Frontus said. 

“Broadband access is no longer a luxury,” Frontus said. “If students are unable to attend school, we must bring school to them. It’s a matter of justice.”

Gounardes Raising Money for Food Deliveries 

State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) is currently distributing nearly 3,000 meals in in partnership with the World Central Kitchen and International Rescue Committee and are still raising funds to support the cause.

“We cannot allow our neighbors to go hungry. If you are in a position to do so, please contribute what you can to our community relief fund and help us reach our fundraising goal. Every contribution will be matched by our campaign up to $22,” wrote Gounardes in an email. 

If you would like to help them reach their goal, click here to contribute. 

Clarke Supports Newly-Passed HEROES Act 

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke  (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) voted for the HEROES Act, to support our nation’s essential workers in their efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak and others affected by COVID-19. 

“My beloved Brooklyn has the distinction of having more COVID-related deaths than any county in the United States, with our borough’s death toll exceeding the combined death toll of 46 entire states.While the HEROES Act doesn’t provide all that I believe is required to truly heal our nation, this bill is a critical step in protecting Brooklynites and all Americans and will help in stabilizing our economy and providing relief to those who are suffering,” Clarke said. 

This bill passed 208-199 in the House of Representatives and provides a monumental effort in supporting frontline workers across America, including in Brooklyn, who are risking their lives to keep the greater community safe.

The HEROES Act will: commit another $75 billion for the testing, tracing and treatment, provide strong support for heroes, put money in the pockets of American workers, support small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program and ensure further support for Americans.

Treyger, Gounardes Deliver Meals and PPE

Council Member Mark Treyger
State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

Council Member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) was joined by New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) and Brooklyn Community Board 11 Member Priscilla Consolo, to facilitate the delivery of 400 meals and 100 PPE face shields to medical staff at five nursing and rehabilitation facilities across Southern Brooklyn. 

“We are continuing outreach to get more donations to help everyone in need across the district. I want to thank our community partners for stepping up to help alleviate the worry of basic needs while our frontline healthcare workers are fighting to combat this pandemic,” said Treyger 

“It’s absolutely vital that we do all we can to assist our healthcare workers and most vulnerable residents. Nursing homes have been absolutely ravaged by the pandemic and it’s necessary to provide relief. Thank you to our incredibly generous donors who have shown us the meaning of being a community that gives back,” said Gounardes.