New York officials keep the deaf informed during the COVID-19 crisis

Many New Yorkers depend on the mayor’s daily briefings for important updates on the coronavirus, but what if you couldn’t be able to hear the information?

News 12 Staff

May 12, 2020, 1:35 AM

Updated 1,475 days ago

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Many New Yorkers depend on the mayor’s daily briefings for important updates on the coronavirus, but what if you couldn’t be able to hear the information? 
Jonathan Lamberton is an important presence at the daily COVID-19 updates at City Hall. He is a certified deaf interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing. 
“It's a great benefit for me because I grew up signing my whole life and I've been exposed to many different types of deaf people and I learned about the different language skills,” said Lamberton. 
At public meetings, Lamberton is paired up with an American sign language interpreter. During city hall briefings and press conferences, the hearing interpreter and Lamberton work as a team to translate what the mayor is saying for deaf New Yorkers.  
He’s kept deaf New Yorkers informed through several city emergencies including the Ebola crisis, Superstorm Sandy and now COVID-19. 
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He says citywide emergencies can often be scary for hard of hearing New Yorkers. He says he remembers one incident where a frightened deaf family didn’t come out of their home for two weeks during the Ebola crirs. 
“They let me know it wasn't until the interpreting that they finally understood what the Ebola situation they realized they could be outside they could live their lives as normal so they were extremely thankful for me interpreting and sharing the information,” said Lamberton. 
The 43-year-old has been signing his entire life and says he and his entire family are deaf. Lamberton says he’s proud of his service to the deaf community during these uncertain times, which includes his family. 
“I'm proud of my work and I can see how it impacts the deaf community,” said Lamberton. 


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