- COVID positivity rates broke records in New York City as the Omicron variant began to spread. So far, hospitalization rates remained lower than during previous surges but an exponential rise in cases will stress the healthcare system. Gov. Kathy Hochul enacted a new statewide mandate requiring mask-wearing at all indoor public spaces that do not require vaccination for entry, such as grocery stores. The Supreme Court refused to block New York’s requirement that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, even in the case of religious objections.
- Eric Adams has selected Keechant Sewell to be the new NYPD Commissioner. Sewell currently serves as the chief of detectives in the Nassau County Police Department (which is less than one tenth the size of the NYPD), and will be the first female head of the department.
- Adams also tapped Louis Molina as the next Department Of Correction Commissioner. Before introducing Molina to reporters, the incoming mayor promised to reinstate solitary confinement at Rikers, which is a form of torture.
- Coney Island residents and electeds are rallying against an expansion of the NYC Ferry system after it was revealed that Parks Department scientists cautioned against the project due to potentially adverse effects on marine and bird wildlife in Coney Island Creek.
- New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics ordered former Governor Andrew Cuomo to turn over $5.1 million in earnings from his 2020 pandemic memoir within 30 days, after finding he violated state ethics laws. Cuomo is expected to fight the ruling.
- Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the sponsor of the New York Health Act every year since he first introduced it in 1991, announced that he will retire at the end of 2022. The bill’s supporters are split on the likelihood of the bill passing in the upcoming legislative session.
- New York City Public Advocate Jumaane William released the annual “worst landlords” list on Thursday.
- Hundreds of thousands of retired New York City employees received incorrect information from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration regarding a key provision of a new health plan that the city wants to replace their current insurance with — and, citing a “global paper shortage,” the city is declining to mail out the correct information. Legal documents show that under the new plan, health care providers will have to get approval in advance from insurance companies before conducting certain doctor’s office visits, mental health care treatments, home health care services, and tests such as bloodwork and x-rays, along with dozens of other procedures or treatments. But the city mailed enrollment guides falsely saying that these and other treatments would not require pre-approvals to all retirees who will be covered by the new plan.
- After a chaotic race, Queens Council Member Adrienne Adams is set to become the next City Council Speaker. Adrienne Adams endorsed Eric Adams (no relation) and voted against defunding the NYPD in 2020, signaling alignment with the incoming mayor despite his initial support for rival Council Member Francisco Moya.
- With Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou entering the State Senate primary against incumbent Brian Kavanaugh (Lower Manhattan), challenger Alana Sivin is suspending her campaign. Illapa Sairitupac, the challenger endorsed by NYC-DSA, will reportedly now run for the Assembly seat being vacated by Niou, where he will face Grace Lee, who challenged Niou last year.
- Huge Ma, who was behind the TurboVax website that connected many New Yorkers to vaccine appointments last spring, is running for an Assembly seat in Queens, currently the 37th seat held by Catherine Nolan.
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