COVID-19 update: The mural at the mall: Commissioned artwork seeks to spread hope
On the front lines of the war on COVID-19, there are many civilian heroes going out of their way, as volunteers and contributors. Also, many who are elected to serve are going the extra mile. In this column the Eagle hopes to give our readers an ongoing update on those fighting in the front lines.
Madison International Realty has commissioned a new original mural by Brooklyn artist Jason Naylor at Atlantic Terminal Mall in Downtown Brooklyn. Just completed, the mural, titled “HOPE,” was inspired by rainbow artwork created to inspire hope during the coronavirus pandemic. “HOPE” is the third artwork Madison International Realty has commissioned at Atlantic Terminal Mall. Previously, Madison appointed Brooklyn artist Patrick Dougher to create “Spread Love” and also partnered with local artists to create the “Take It Easy” mural. The new work is in Naylor’s traditional style, using bold colors, and is intended to convey positive messages of hope.
On Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined various community groups to kick off an initiative that will serve halal hot meals to help Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan break their fast. The service, which is prepared to serve more than 1,000 meals per day, operates out of four mobile food trucks that will travel throughout the city. “This year, Ramadan comes during a time of great hardship for so many New Yorkers throughout our city,” Adams said. “Even during this challenging time, helping New Yorkers who belong to religious communities to observe holy days can be a source of great comfort to people of all faiths.”
Community leader Steven Patzer has collected over 2,000 care packages for NYCHA residents in Coney Island and Gravesend. Each package contains an assortment of snacks, a mask, and COVID-19 information. “I’m driving vans several times per week to pick up new donations of meals and masks,” Patzer said. Patzer also arranges food deliveries to those in need among many other requests from residents of southern Brooklyn. “I do my best with every request and almost all have been fulfilled,” says Patzer. “For many, I’m told the best part of the care packages is the card with my personal phone number and email on it. In high-risk groups, having someone they can depend on is essential during quarantine. I’m here for them to run errands or make needed phone calls to government agencies and nonprofits.” Mark Meyer Appel, from The Bridge Multicultural & Advocacy Project donated over 600 masks to the project.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday announced that antibody testing will be made available for first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. NYC Health + Hospitals will begin offering free COVID-19 antibody tests to all of its healthcare workers across its 11 hospitals.Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC, the city will also offer testing for any healthcare worker or first responder across the FDNY, DOC, NYPD, and hospitals citywide. “We are committed to the health and wellness of our heroic workforce during this public health crisis, and antibody testing provides our employees with additional information about their potential exposure to Covid-19,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “This new program complements our existing system-wide employee testing program, and all tests results will be completely confidential.”
Brooklyn Community Foundation has announced its #BrooklynGives for COVID-19 Relief campaign to raise $1 million on #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity set to take place on May 5, 2020. Giving Tuesday has created #GivingTuesdayNow as an international emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Donors can give to the Foundation’s Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund or to over 100 local nonprofits with profiles at BrooklynGives.org. “In the weeks since the crisis began, we have seen incredible generosity and courage in the face of devastating loss, fear, and uncertainty,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “Thank you to everyone who is standing beside us to support and sustain essential nonprofit lifelines serving our communities.”
Citi and Mastercard have committed $1 million to provide one-year Citi Bike memberships to critical workers at no cost through Lyft’s Citi Bike Critical Workforce Membership Program. Eligible employers should email [email protected] to obtain enrollment information to distribute to staff. “At Citi, we are extremely grateful to our first responders, healthcare workers and all those serving on the front lines who are keeping New Yorkers safe and our communities running,” said Ed Skyler, Citi’s Head of Public Affairs. “Funding free annual Citi Bike memberships is one way we are demonstrating our deep appreciation to these heroes for their service and sacrifice.”
New Yorkers who have had to miss work because they were sick because of COVID-19 can now use the city’s call center to obtain the necessary medical documentation to claim paid sick leave. “If you have COVID-19 or have symptoms of the virus, use the sick leave you are entitled to and protect your fellow New Yorkers by staying home,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “If you need the necessary medical documentation to claim paid sick leave, just call 855-491-2667 and get connected to our call center.” Last week, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot issued a Commissioner’s Order detailing the process for New Yorkers who missed work because they tested positive for COVID-19 or were sick with COVID-19 to claim paid sick leave. FAQs can be found here.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that New York’s contact tracing pilot program, with leadership from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, will begin in the coming weeks. Contact tracing teams will work remotely with state-of-the-art software to develop a secure database of information on the spread of the infection. “We know increasing our testing capacity is the key to re-opening New York, and the second step after testing is tracing to find out who tested positive, who they contacted and then isolate those people so you don’t increase the rate of infection,” Cuomo said. “Tracing is not hard on an individual basis — the problem is the massive scale and with an operation that has never existed before. We need our contact tracing program to come up to scale to meet what we’re doing with testing as soon as possible, and we are working with Mike Bloomberg now to build an army of tracers to meet the state’s demand so we can begin this operation immediately.”
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