Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, May 19, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Levine, Rodriguez Discuss Racial Inequity in Infection Rates

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

After a Health Department study found the coronavirus infection and fatality rates were highest in black and Latino neighborhoods, Councilmembers Mark Levine (D-Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) spoke out, amNY reported Tuesday. 

“It’s really heartbreaking and it should tug at the moral conscience of the city,” Levine told Reuters. “We knew we had dramatic inequality. This, in graphic form, shows it’s even greater than maybe many of us feared.”

Rodriguez concurred with Levine’s sentiments.

“Black, Latino, and Asian New Yorkers have been impacted the hardest by this virus and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are receiving the support and help they need during these challenging times,” said Rodriguez.

Johnson Wants Outdoor Dining at Restaurants

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

In a Monday editorial to Crain’s New York, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Midtown West, Chelsea, West Village) and Andrew Rigie, head of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, announced they were trying to figure out how to permit restaurants to allow safe al fresco dining, Eater NY reported.

They cited the financial hardships the industry has faced amid the coronavirus crisis.

“We know this is not a long-term fix, but a good first step to help restaurants while reimagining our outdoor space,” they wrote. “It’s clear to all of us that for health and safety reasons, the restaurant industry is going to have to look different in the New York City of the next few months, or even years.”

Brewer Honors NYCHA-Based American Idol Champion

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

In her Monday coronavirus briefing, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) honored the latest winner of American Idol: 21-year old Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz, the West Side Rag reported.

Diaz, a resident of the NYCHA’s Frederick Douglass Houses complex in the west 100s, learned she had won from her home through a teleconference Sunday night. Before her victory, she had gotten a great deal of support from her fellow New Yorkers.

Diaz had decided not to go home to celebrate, because she feared risking her grandmother’s health.