October 23, 2020
Dear New York,
COVID anxiety is real. COVID stress is real. COVID depression is real. I understand we’re tired of wearing masks, of social distancing, etc. The pandemic has caused tremendous stress on each of us. And the longer it goes on, the worse it’s going to get. We see it in the numbers, in a rise in substance abuse, in the way people are relying on mental health services and in real need of resources. We can’t ignore the emotional and mental health impacts of this pandemic.
Give your friends a call. Check in with your family. Ask them how everything is going and how they are feeling. Let’s show each other some love because mental health is just as important as physical health. New Yorkers can also call the State’s mental health hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for free emotional support, consultations & referrals to a provider. We are New York Tough as we go through this together but let’s not also forget to be New York Loving.
Photo of the Day: The iconic lion statues in front of the main branch of the New York Public Library are wearing masks and encouraging New Yorkers to vote (Photo by Nina Dudko)
Here’s what else you need to know tonight:
1. Early Voting starts tomorrow, October 24th. For the first time New Yorkers can vote early in a presidential election. There are nine days of Early Voting, which runs from Saturday, October 24th through Sunday, November 1st. Additionally, completed absentee ballots can be dropped off in-person at any early polling site. Robust measures are in place to protect the health and safety of all voters. Look up your early polling place here.
2. The positivity rate in the “micro-cluster” focus areas fell to 2.31 percent. The statewide positivity rate excluding these areas was 0.98 percent. There were 1,023 total hospitalizations. Of the 141,508 tests reported yesterday, 1,637, or 1.15 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost 11 New Yorkers to the virus yesterday.
3. New Yorkers can now experience the Empire State’s many craft breweries through a Virtual Passport Program. Today, the State launched a virtual passport program that showcases 200 craft breweries surrounding the 750-mile long Empire State Trail. This program makes it easier for people to enjoy the State’s natural beauty and renowned craft beverages even amid the pandemic.
4. Movie theaters outside of New York City reopened today. Theaters can open at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people per screen. Only theaters outside of New York City in counties that have positivity rates of less than 2 percent on a 14-day average, and which do not have any cluster zones, are permitted to open.
5. Eight additional companies have received support from the State to help produce PPE. Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, awarded $4.9 million to eight NY-based companies to help alleviate product shortages that could lead to unfair price gouging of life-saving supplies. These awards boost New York businesses while helping ensure New York is prepared in the event of a second wave.
6. The Nourish NY program has spent over $18 million connecting New York farms with families in need. To date, 20.8 million pounds of raw milk have been made into products like yogurt and cheese that have been distributed by food banks, along with 6.4 million pounds of produce from NY farms. Almost 800,000 households have received products from more than 4,000 farms through this initiative — which is helping keep farms and families in need afloat.
Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: COVID altered our lives — and it also altered our language. We asked New Yorkers to submit “new” words or phrases as part of a semi-official COVID dictionary. Here are a few of the entries:
Coronahobby — “A new hobby you took up to pass the time at home, e.g. needlepoint or bread-baking.”
New York Tough — “Coming together, being strong, putting differences aside, getting through this.”
Blursday — “When all the days of the week start to blur together.”
Birthday Parade — “A birthday celebrated with friends and families driving by in cars, blasting songs and displaying signs and balloons.”
Rona — “For when you just don’t have the energy to say the whole thing.”
Covidiot — “Someone who ignores the warnings regarding public health or safety.”
Quarantine Fifteen — “The pounds a few of us may have put on while staying at home.”
Six-Foot Shuffle — “When strangers walking down the street or waiting in line move to give each other six feet of distance.”
Chin Guard — “A mask worn below the mouth and nose.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo