Daily Archives: Sep 10, 2020

Higgins Announces An Additional $9 Million in COVID-19 Emergency Funding for Western New York Communities

Community Development Block Grants Awarded to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Tonawanda & Erie County

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced Western New York will receive over $9 million in federal emergency funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to help local communities respond to and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding, included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by Congress, is in addition to the nearly $20 million in emergency federal funding for local municipalities announced by Higgins in April, including $13 million in CDBG funds.

Higgins said, “Our local municipalities have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning, and will continue to be throughout the duration of this pandemic. This funding will continue important and necessary relief work in our communities as we fight for additional resources to battle the coronavirus and fight for the health and safety of Western New York.”

Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), eligible cities, towns and counties are awarded CDBG resources to support local community development needs, such as affordable housing, infrastructure investment, and job creation. In April, HUD provided guidance for eligible activities to support infectious disease response, with potential uses including:

  • Public Services: including testing, equipment, supplies, healthcare worker training, meals on wheels or other food access
  • Small Business Assistance: grants or loans for business expansion/job creation; support for manufacturers of medical supplies; short-term working capital assistance to help with job retention; assistance for microenterprises that provide medical, food delivery, cleaning or other services supporting home health and quarantine
  • Building improvements: to allow for clinics, improve/expand existing facilities, retrofit hotels or other buildings for patient care

NAME

CDBG COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDING

Town of Amherst

$1,159,433

Buffalo

$3,179,604

Town of Cheektowaga

$864,606

Niagara Falls

$774,234

Town of Tonawanda

$624,178

Erie County

$2,461,149

 

Total

$9,063,204

In July, Higgins joined City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino to detail the City’s plan to implement CARES Act funding provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  In Niagara Falls, CDBG and Emergency Solutions Grant funding is being used for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), suicide prevention, homeless intervention, COVID testing supplies and other capital and program investments.

Under the Heroes Act, supported by Higgins and approved by the House of Representatives over 100 days ago, Western New York’s CDBG-eligible communities would receive an additional $33.5 million in CDBG funding as well as millions more in state and local aid.  However the Senate has yet to vote on the emergency funding package.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Try as he might to change the subject, President Donald Trump can’t escape the coronavirus.

By: Zeke Miller

In April, the president tried to shift the public’s focus to the economy. In July, to defending the country’s “heritage.” In September, to enforcing “law and order.” But all along the way, the death toll from the coronavirus continued to mount.

And now, Trump’s own words are redirecting attention to his handling of the pandemic when he can least afford it — less than two months before Election Day.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said of the threat from the virus. That was in a private conversation with journalist Bob Woodward last March that became public on Wednesday with the publication of excerpts from Woodward’s upcoming book “Rage.

In taped conversations released along with the excerpts, Trump insisted he didn’t want to create “panic.” But his comments also raised fresh questions about how he has managed the defining crisis of his presidency, one that has killed more than 190,000 Americans so far, with no end in sight.

Trump’s team would much rather center the November vote around the economy, cracking down on protests spawned by racial injustice, and the president’s promise that he could appoint more conservative justices to the Supreme Court.

Trump released a list of 20 potential nominees for the high court, part of an effort to animate conservative and evangelical voters. But his announcement was overshadowed by a cascade of unwelcome developments, including Woodward’s revelations, a move by Nevada officials to cancel upcoming Trump rallies in the state because of the virus, and a whistleblower’s charge that Trump aides had pressured him to cover up intelligence reports about Russian election interference on the president’s behalf.

The president unleashed a barrage of tweets Thursday morning, some in an effort to change the subject, and others taking on the Woodward book head-on, defending his comments and charging the media with conspiring against him.

“Bob Woodward had my quotes for many months,” Trump wrote. “If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”

Woodward has defended his decision to hold off by saying he needed time to make sure Trump’s private comments were true.

Revelations from the Woodward book emerged just as Trump’s campaign was beginning to feel that the virus was receding from public view. The president himself has been thumbing his nose at public health experts’ warning against the sort of large gatherings — with few people wearing masks — that his campaign has been staging around the country.

For all of that, Trump has faced devastating revelations of his own creation before and survived them. They stretch back to his 2015 comments questioning the heroism of Sen. John McCain, a decorated Vietnam prisoner of war, or the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape that emerged just before the 2016 election in which Trump described sexually assaulting women.

On Wednesday, Trump didn’t deny his remarks playing down the virus, he sought to justify them.

“The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country and I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic,” Trump told reporters. “Certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We want to show strength.”

Yet Trump’s own explanation suggested he was steering people away from the reality of the coming storm. Woodward’s account details dire warnings from top Trump national security officials to the president in late January that the virus that causes COVID-19 could be as bad as the devastating influenza pandemic of 1918.

On Feb. 25, just weeks before much of the country was forced to shut down because of the pandemic, Trump declared the virus “very well under control in our country.”

Democratic nominee Joe Biden pounced on the Woodward revelations, declaring that Trump “lied to the American people. He knowingly and willingly lied about the threat it posed to the country for months.”

“While a deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job — on purpose. It was a life or death betrayal of the American people,” Biden said.

By evening, Trump’s own words, captured on the Woodward tapes, had popped up in a Biden campaign ad. The ad includes audio of Trump privately acknowledging to Woodward the severity of COVID-19, and ends with a narrator pronouncing: “Trump knew it all along.”

In a taped Feb. 7 call with Woodward, Trump said of the virus, “You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” Trump said.

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

Just three days later, Trump struck a far rosier tone in public, in an interview with Fox Business: “I think the virus is going to be — it’s going to be fine.”

The Washington Post, where Woodward serves as associate editor, reported excerpts of the book on Wednesday, as did CNN. The book also covers race relations, diplomacy with North Korea and a range of other issues that have arisen during the past two years.

The book is based in part on 18 interviews that Woodward conducted with Trump between December and July.

“Trump never did seem willing to fully mobilize the federal government and continually seemed to push problems off on the states,” Woodward writes of the pandemic. “There was no real management theory of the case or how to organize a massive enterprise to deal with one of the most complex emergencies the United States had ever faced.”

 

 

As healthcare workers get a handle on the coronavirus pandemic, the flu season is right around the corner. Doctors urge people to keep up health practices in place during the COVID-19 crisis to help with the flu, too.

“My message throughout the whole pandemic has been preparation, not panic,” said Dr. Paul Nanda, the Chief Medical Officer at TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track.

The CDC says flu activity often starts to pick up in October, while most of the time activity peaks between December and February. Dr. Nanda says the challenge will be differentiating between the flu and COVID-19.

“Going back from March when the first pandemic hit to our surge at the end of June, early July, and it was challenging,” said Nanda. “We had to rapidly learn how to roll out policies that protect our staff, but also provide the most good for our patients to keep our patients safe.”

Dr. Nanda thinks going through that earlier this year has prepared them for another COVID-19 wave or dealing with COVID-19 and the flu season. On top of that, he thinks people are more conscious now about hand washing, covering coughs and wearing masks, which he thinks hopefully could mean a tamped down flu season.

USF Health’s Dr. Marissa Levine says through the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare systems have learned a lot about how to manage their resources.

“What we don’t want to happen is to have a really bad flu season and bad coronavirus peaks at the same time. That’s bad for everybody,” said Dr. Levine. “It’ll overwhelm our healthcare system, and it could lead to more deaths just because we don’t have the adequate resources to deal with the issue. That doesn’t have to happen, I don’t want to scare people to think that it will happen. I think we can work individually and collectively to prevent that from happening.”

Dr. Levine says people should keep doing what they’ve been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to help during flu season: social distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hygiene.

“I do worry about COVID fatigue. We all want this to be over, but it’s not, and as it gets better, we tend to let our guard down, so as long as we don’t let our guard down, yes, I think we are much better prepared,” said Dr. Levine. “We could actually minimize the flu season just by continuing to do what we’ve been doing and adding flu vaccination on top of that.”

Dr. Nanda says now more than ever is an important time to get the flu shot. He says children as young as six months old can get the vaccine. Dr. Nanda recommends people wait until Oct. 1 so you’re well-covered during the peak of flu season.

“It decreases the risk of having both COVID and the flu at the same time, and we have a vaccine that we know the science works behind it for years. We can tamp down the number of circulating flu, that certainly increases the health of those patients and the community,” said Dr. Nanda.

Elementary school kids running into school, back view

The Pucho Olivencia Center located at 261 Swan Street Buffalo, NY. Will be hosting a school supply giveaway this Saturday, September 12, 2020 from 11:00AM to 1:PM

In addition to school supplies, food and COVID PPE Supplies will be giveaway!

Participates must provide school verification/ ID for Back Packs

 

 

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