Thursday’s Headlines: NYC’s Hot Vax Summer Vibes Are Off Edition

A photo of the Manhattan skyline with lots of fluffy clouds and blue sky.
Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

As some young people have noted recently on social media, the vibes for NYC’s Hot Vax Summer 2021 are “off.”

Mayor de Blasio is playing basketball and booking a golden oldies Central Park “comeback concert” lineup. Gov. Cuomo is trying to strongarm lawmakers into giving him even more control over the MTA while suggesting that the state attorney general’s investigation into his alleged workplace misconduct is compromised. Violent crime is trending down, but deadly traffic is trending up. Perhaps most concerning: not enough city workers are vaccinated.

Almost 71 percent of adult New Yorkers has had at least one vaccine dose, but just 60 percent of municipal workers have gotten a single shot, according to the Daily News. At the NYPD, 47 percent of the 50,000 employees has received a dose. That’s better than the 33 percent of the 10,000 Correction Department workers, but worse than the 54 percent of 17,000 FDNY employees.

At the MTA, 65 to 70 percent of the workforce of 60,000 has gotten a shot. “Working down here in this filthy place, with the tunnels and the homeless, you’ve got to be immune to everything,” one train worker told the News, explaining why he was skipping the vaccine.

This week, de Blasio announced that city workers would have to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing; those who refused could be put on leave without pay. (The city, starting Friday, also will start paying residents $100 to get a shot.) Cuomo put a similar rule in place for state employees, which included a mandate for public-facing hospital employees that does not include a testing option.

“You’re going to have people that are going to resent it,” Sanitation union head Harry Nespoli told the Times. (Sanitation’s vaccination rate: 40 percent.)

Meanwhile, the Delta variant is spreading fast and killing people — overwhelmingly, unvaccinated people.

Get your shot; save lives; fix the vibes.

In other news:

  • The White House released a fact sheet for the infrastructure bill that is pending in Congress, and would you believe it: transit funding took a hit while highway funding rose. Highways got $110 billion; mass transit got $39 billion; and rail improvements will get $66 billion. When the ice caps melt and everything dies, at least we’ll know we engaged in bipartisanship. (To be fair, a chunk of the highway funds will go toward bridge repair.)
  • Speaking of roads, Bloomberg Businessweek has a terrific interactive piece showing the positive effects of highway removal in a historically Black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Toyota got beat on electric vehicles, so they’re lobbying against them, Wired reports.
  • Gov. Cuomo is grousing about the Gateway project again, mostly because he wants to remake Midtown his way: “Right now you’re building new tunnels, but you have no place for the tunnels to land.”
  • A 35-year-old sommelier has been arrested for setting fire to downtown outdoor dining sheds.
  • Guess who: “My point, obviously, Aaron, is the car is an abomination.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Speeding Kills, and 39 Percent of New York Drivers Are Doing It

|
Could speed have caused yesterday’s pedestrian fatality? We’ll probably never know. Photo: New York Daily News A new report from Transportation Alternatives confirms what New York pedestrians and cyclists have been forced to accept as a fact of life: A high number of drivers speed through city streets, regardless of the potentially deadly consequences for […]

NYC DOT Needs to Turn On the Rest of Its Speed Cameras ASAP

|
Total traffic injuries and fatalities in NYC declined in the first three months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to NYPD crash data. While it’s too early to isolate the effect of the city’s speed camera program on street safety, the available evidence strongly suggests cameras are a factor in the city’s […]