NEW YORK CITY (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – Citing previous successful efforts by the city to curtail the spread of the pandemic by focusing on hot spots, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would be expanding its efforts in Borough Park, Kew Gardens, Midwood, Flatbush, Far Rockaway and Williamsburg.
Speaking with reporters at his daily press conference, the mayor said that all six neighborhoods have seen recent upticks in their infection rates, prompting the city to increase its efforts by working closely with community leaders, organizations and houses of worship.
“You’re going to see a lot of activity in the community to remind people of the basics, how important it is and what we call ‘the core four’ – four things that you can do that makes such a difference – wear a mask, socially distance, wash your hands and stay home if you’re sick.”
The city will be placing advertisements in local publications and will use sound trucks, WhatsApp and robocalls to emphasize the importance of following safety guidelines against the ongoing COVID threat. Increased testing will be offered in the affected neighborhoods where free masks, gloves and hand sanitizers will be distributed to residents.
Targeting affected communities has worked well in the past, noted Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi who said that previous surges in Sunset Park, Ozone Park and the Bronx neighborhoods of Tremont and Soundview have worked well. Having seen outbreaks in other countries morphing into second waves of the virus, Chokshi called for renewed vigilance on avoiding large indoor gatherings, particularly those where people are not wearing masks.
Having seen New York City slowly getting back on its feet after being hit hard, de Blasio noted that the city has made significant progress and that residents of the Big Apple need to stay focused in order to defeat the pandemic.
“We’re showing people what it means to make our decisions based on data and science and get it right,” said the mayor. “I need every New Yorker to lead by example and keep those masks on and practice that social distancing and do the smart thing so we can all move forward together.”