Brooklyn Briefing March 15: STAY HOME!! No School Tomorrow.

Brooklyn Briefing March 15: STAY HOME!! No School Tomorrow.

Governor Andrew Cuomo just issued an urgent plea: “What we do next week will have a massive impact on the trajectory of this virus in New York. We can only maintain public health by STAYING APART. The decision each of us makes now will impact us all tomorrow, STAY HOME.”

  • Governor Cuomo said there were  613 confirmed cases in New York State as of last night. We have [56] new ones in New York City for a total of 269.  As of this morning there were 729 cases in New York State. New York City accounted for 329, up 60 from yesterday night- and accounts for the majority of the cases. 78 cases in Queens, 72 in Manhattan, 53 in Brooklyn, 21 in the Bronx, 16 in Staten Island. 5 confirmed deaths in NYC, three more than yesterday – a 78-year-old, a 56-year-old and a 53-year-old, the latter both had diabetes. Officials would not disclose where.
  • As of 5:30pm today NYC schools as we know them are closed from now till at least April 20th, and possibly for the rest of the school year. Remote learning to start in one week, on 3/23. Grab and go meals will be available to pick up from schools this week. This week will be used to train teachers on how to teach remotely. Several dozen of regional centers will open on 2/23 across the city for kids of emergency workers and those in need.
  • NYC Mayor refused to close the schools, but the overwhelming opinion seems to be that if you can, keep your kids home. The big issue is that if the infection keeps spreading as it has, our hospitals will be overwhelmed within a week or two, and healthcare workers kids need to be taken care of.
  • Governor Cuomo: “NYC must have a plan in place in the next 24 hours for childcare for essential workers and a plan to make sure kids will continue to get the meals they need. NYC schools will close early next week. This action is necessary to reduce density and mitigate the spread of #COVID19.”
  • Two Southern Brooklyn assemblymembers Helene Weinstein and Charles Barron – have been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19) yesterday. Both members have not been in Albany since early March.  State Capitol is closed to visitors effective Sunday, March 15.
  • An 82 year old Brooklyn woman who was one of the first to be diagnosed with COVID-19 died yesterday, first death officially attributed to Coronavirus in NYC. She had a pre-existing respiratory disease of emphysema and died at Wyckoff Medical Center. A few hours later a second death – that of a 65-year-old man not in Brooklyn, also with preexisting conditions was announced.
  • Senior centers are closed, except as feeding centers to pick up food.
  • NYPD will be cracking down on establishments not observing 50% capacity rule staring tonight.
  • Governor: “We only have 3,000 intensive care unit beds in this state – 3,000. 80% are now occupied. The people who wind up needing hospital assistance, there are senior citizens, underlying illness, they need the ventilators. The ventilators are in the intensive care units. We don’t have enough.”
  • Governor Cuomo asked President Trump to deploy the Army Corps of Engineers to retrofit military bases and college dormitories into temporary medical centers, NY Times reports.


“From my point of view, the main negative on closing the New York City school system is the possible effect on losing workers because they have to stay home and take care of their children. The most pressing issue of workers staying home are healthcare workers. Again, this is all going to come down to a hospital crisis, assuming we can’t get the spread rate of the disease down. Hospitals won’t be able to manage it and any shortage of workers would compound that – 1199 is the main union that represents healthcare workers. There have been conversations with them about alternatives – how do we provide childcare for workers so they would be freed up to go to work if the schools were to close. Could we run summer schools to make for the education? So we’re trying to be very creative to come up with ways where we could close schools in New York City, but avert the negative, and again the main negative, which I have been saying, is losing healthcare workers for the hospitals. Remember also, 1199 is the main union that represents healthcare workers, so they are pivotal to that conversation. But, some progress, we’re looking for creative solutions, and 1199 has always been a good partner and they’re working with us. So that’s a very positive step, not determinative, but positive.”

Councilmembers across the city are advocating for schools to be shut down:

  • Given the continuing and growing concern about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bishop DiMarzio has determined that all public masses be canceled in the Diocese of Brooklyn beginning Monday, March 16th, until further notice. This includes weekday masses as well as Sunday. Funerals and Weddings will be permitted but should be limited to family members only. Confirmations should be celebrated with the Rite of Confirmation without Mass if need be, and in consultation with the Bishop scheduled to celebrate the Confirmation. NET-TV can be seen in the New York City area on Spectrum (Channel 97), Optimum (Channel 30) and FIOS (Channel 48). Viewers can also tune in online at

But neighbors are stepping up, offering free meals for kids: