Public advocate calls on city, state to delay April reopenings
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is calling on city and state leaders to delay April reopenings, saying the speed at which the city is opening is putting New Yorkers' lives in danger.
Williams was joined Wednesday by City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine and epidemiologist Dr. Celine Gounder to seek a delay in openings. Currently, just over 26% of New Yorkers are partially vaccinated with under 14% fully vaccinated.
Williams says this is concerning as Gov. Andrew Cuomo starts to reopen the city and state. He says vaccinations need to be scaled up and reopenings scaled back since we are just months away from herd immunity.
As of right now, Cuomo plans to allow stadiums and large outdoor venues to operate at 20%. Arts and entertainment venues can open at 33% capacity. The curfew on casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, gyms and fitness centers is being lifted.
Experts say if we open too soon and allow COVID-19 to spread, the virus can possibly change into a variant and become resistant to the vaccine.
Williams says New York should take the month of April to get ahead of the virus by wearing masks, continuing social distance and getting vaccinated.
"We know right now the city is in a race between the vaccine and the variants," says Williams. "It's really neck and neck at this point, and we feel like rushing to reopen is getting ahead of ourselves. It will only help the virus get ahead of us and we want to make sure that fatigue doesn't win. We want make sure that we are not making decisions based on that, but really based on the science and minimizing the risk."
The public advocate is calling on the mayor to keep his reopening plans slow.