On a remote option, the Government appears to be saying : “More COVID-19 protections for me, but not for thee.”
By Progress New York Staff
Updated 09 Aug 2021 10:15 Last week, reports emerged that some of the top Government officials in New York were legislating or proposing more protections against COVID-19 for themselves than they were mandating for the general public. The reports of unequal treatment came as a new prediction foretold of increased infections as a result of the autumnal academic rentrée.
Former Trump administration head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday that the U.S. northeast, including New York, would experience a continued spike of COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Coronavirus strain known as the Delta variant. Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in remarks made on the CNBC cable financial news channel that, “I think our true [D]elta wave is going to start to build after Labor Day here in the Northeast and the northern part of the country,” according to a CNBC report of the interview, adding that he believed that children returning to school would serve as “incubators for spread.” Dr. Gottlieb now serves on the Board of Directors of Pfizer Inc., the pharmaceutical maker of one of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Also last week, Gov. Kathleen Hochul (D-NY) championed passage through the State Legislature a bill to suspend the State’s open meetings law to allow Government Agencies to hold virtual meetings, accord to a report published by POLITICO. Even though Gov. Hochul had promised during an interview on the MSNBC cable news channel that, “Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration,” the open meetings law suspension would permit State and Local Government Agencies to “ban protesters, lobbyists, the press and all other members of the public from physically attending meetings until Jan. 15, 2022,” according to the POLITICO report.
The change in State Law came in the face of increased hospitalisations due to the highly-contagious Delta variant, according to a report published by NY1, and was followed by remarks made Wednesday by Gov. Hochul that remote learning would not be an option anymore for public school students in the new school year, except for the immuno-compromised. The conflicting legislative and policy positions confirmed a double-standard : the Government wanted a remote option for top officials participating in public meetings, but it was going to deny an option for remote education to children attending public schools.
@NYCCouncil Oversight Hearing was chilling. @NYCSchools refused to budge while @MarkTreyger718 @JustinBrannan@MarkLevineNYC & others asked for Remote Option + Mandated & Increased testing. Pls help Parents, Teachers & City Council #RestoreRemoteOption 🙏🏽
— Nina Kulkarni (@kulkarni_nina) September 6, 2021
The same Government leaders, who supported a remote option for Agency meetings and hearings, wouldn’t grant one for public schools, even as COVID-19 hospitalisations amongst children are up.
Before passage of the New York State suspension of the open meetings law, New York City Councilmember Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) was reportedly drumming up support for a return to remote meetings for the City Council, community boards, and other civic bodies, according to a report published by the New York Post. After the special Legislative session to enact the suspension of the open meetings law and a new eviction moratorium, several State Legislators reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated, setting off a panic of notifications. But that same sense of care or concern has not been shown for children facing crowded conditions in New York City public schools, according to online critics of Gov. Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City).
At a City Council hearing last week, Public Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter admitted that the de Blasio administration was not initially offering a remote option for public school students, despite the reported pattern of other school districts having to resort to a remote option after COVID-19 cases spiked as a result of the reöpening of public schools, according to a report published by PIX-11 News.
At a recent town hall featuring Michael Mulgrew, the United Federation of Teachers union president, it was revealed that the de Blasio administration would not require a quarantine for vaccinated children, who tested positive for COVID-19 but showed no symptoms, according to an unedited, live blogging of the town hall meeting. A notable critic of relaxed Government public health policy accused top politicians, like Mayor de Blasio, of cowardly demanding more COVID-19 protections than they provided to the “peons.”
The concern over public school children safety comes as children younger than 12 are not yet approved to receive the vaccines. At the same time, in New York, children aged 0-4 showed a 4,88 per cent. test positivity, children aged 5-12 showed 5,78 per cent. test positivity, and children aged 13-17 showed 4,67 per cent. test positivity, according to NYC Health data released as of 28 Aug. It’s been acknowledged that children were reported to be at-risk for developing Long Covid.
For this report, the offices of Gov. Hochul and Mayor de Blasio each refused to admit that Government élites were seeking greater protections from COVID-19 than they were legislating or mandating for the general public.
- Former FDA head Scott Gottlieb says ‘true Delta wave’ has yet to hit Northeast [The New York Post]
- Advocacy groups call for hearing on open meetings law [NY1]
- A Warning About The Future Of Covid-19 From The Scientific Advisory Group For Emergencies Of The United Kingdom [Forbes]
- U.S. data show rising ‘breakthrough’ infections among fully vaccinated [Reuters]
The big question remains whether reopening of schools and the rentrée generally will produce the kind of resurgence of Delta now happening in the UK. This graph by @nicolasberrod suggest the Fr. pattern is to be a month later than UK and somewhat less badly stricken. 2/8 pic.twitter.com/3PjHrSDaI0
— John Lichfield (@john_lichfield) September 8, 2021