In light of the current resurgence of COVID-19 in New York City, I’m writing to remind you of steps we can all take to safeguard our health and that of our community, families, and friends. 

The New York City Health Department has reported that COVID-19 rates have risen significantly in New York City since Thanksgiving, in conjunction with the increased spread of the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). As a result, the agency’s strong recommendation is to wear masks at all times indoors and in crowded outdoor settings, even if you are fully vaccinated. I share this information with the CUNY community so you have the latest guidance to make an informed choice about wearing masks in our buildings.

All five boroughs of the City are at high community transmission levels for COVID under CDC guidelines, and hospitalizations in the City have doubled since September according to State data. As we have known since the first year of the pandemic, masks are a highly effective weapon in stopping the spread of COVID and can be critical to preventing serious, debilitating, and potentially life-threatening illness. 

Although the City’s advisory is not a mandate, I urge all members of our community to follow the guidelines and mask up as much as possible. And I remind you to make sure you are up to date on your vaccines and boosters, and encourage you to get the annual flu vaccine. The State Department of Health released data last week that showed a 64% week-over-week jump in flu cases across the State. 

As we approach the end of the fall semester, I wish our students the best on their final exams and a healthy, happy holiday season to all.

By Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, PhD