100 signatures reached
To: Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Department of Health
Stop COVID in NYS Now
Dear Governor Cuomo,
We are NY tough and see that right now COVID is taking over the State. COVID metrics are rising at an alarming rate, hospital capacity is dwindling and our health care workers are exhausted. As New Yorkers who follow the science, we have seen transmission rates and positivity rise greatly since October. We see the maps and dashboards showing increasing number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Briefings assert that living room gatherings are the main culprit while presenting minimal supporting data. The statement is then used to minimize the role that schools, bars and restaurants have and justify keeping them open.
However, we have read multiple studies showing schools, bars, restaurants and group gatherings all drive transmission. We believe more aggressive mitigation strategies need to be implemented, and respectfully urge you to reinstate NY PAUSE measures immediately. We also want people who read the history of this pandemic to know that citizens were aware of the science and put forth this petition to ask that we take the necessary steps to stop this virus.
Specifically, we ask that you:
1. Move all schools to remote instruction and develop regional assistance plans for essential workers impacted by school closures.
Our State has not gone below 400 new positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic. In the summer, COVID was quietly seeding until schools and colleges opened. We are now at spring levels of transmission with the entire state being impacted. Despite efforts at widespread masking and distancing, the evidence points towards significant asymptomatic spread occurring within schools around the world, causing the Reproductive number in the community to rise. While testing in schools may not show this (in part due to tests used), the community is suffering from in person schooling.
2. Close bars and restaurants, allowing take-out only. Create campaigns that can be used to promote take-out that local governments can distribute out through Chambers and economic development.
3. Limit the size of groups in gatherings, as well as store occupancy. A campaign asking New Yorkers to pivot to curbside service, online shopping and shipping whenever possible should be implemented.
4. Close workplaces for those who can work from home.
We recognize that these measures may be difficult for people to understand, thus we ask that a campaign to educate people about aerosol transmission be developed to show why these places are the sources of infection. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html?s=09#Spread 12/17/2020 update: These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Why is this important?
We understand that herd immunity via vaccination will take months to achieve. Without the steps outlined above many more lives will be lost and many others will become ill, perhaps chronically, per the models. This hurts people, and in the long run, is also expensive across many systems. We have seen what happens when countries work to eliminate COVID. New York State may have more difficulty than a country would, but we can see that the current level of mitigation is not enough.
We have seen responses from leaders like Adern, Battulga and Merkel. While they have all struggled with COVID returning, the defining feature of their response is their unwillingness to lose lives. A positive side effect is that their economies have been impacted positively by this approach. COVID Zero NY should be our aspiration. Being better than other states is not enough. It is imperative that our goals be higher because this is impacting our lives, our health, and our livelihoods. We must act, immediately.
The WHO’s Dr. Mike Ryan’s statement from March is as relevant today as it was then: “Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection, and the problem in society we have at the moment is everyone is afraid of making a mistake - everyone is afraid of the consequence of error. But the greatest error is not to move. The greatest error is to be paralyzed by the fear of failure.”
Dec 22, 2020 — Sample of Information Utilized
Substantial majorities (6 in 10, or more) of Americans support all seven restrictive measures. www.thecovidstates.org THE COVID STATES PROJECT: A 50-STATE COVID-19 SURVEY REPORT #25: PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR MEASURES AIMED AT CURBING COVID-19
USA, November 2020
Lack of transparency undermining response: https://www.wired.com/story/a-lack-of-transparency-is-undermining-pandemic-policy/
Updated COVID risk: https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/
Closing schools, bars, workplaces, public events reduces R to safe levels https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30785-4/fulltext
Additional school information: https://twitter.com/DrZoeHyde/status/1336612124835995648?s=20