If you were looking forward to driving across the Henry Hudson Bridge for free, you’re going to have to wait a little longer.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz says the bridge toll rebate program for Bronx residents that was supposed to start last spring has been put on hold. Dinowitz has paved the way for the rebate after agreeing to allow for congestion pricing in lower Manhattan to help fund Metropolitan Transportation Authority initiatives.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to a grinding halt all MTA programs and new capital projects,” Dinowitz said in a recent online newsletter to constituents. Those halted programs include not only the bridge rebate, but also a discount for Metro-North riders, and the overall Bronx bus redesign project.
“I am frustrated, but I understand that this is a decision that affects everybody,” Dinowitz said. “It was not made lightly by MTA leadership, who are urgently working to keep trains and buses safe for essential workers to get where they need to go.”
If there wasn’t enough to worry about when it comes to the coronavirus, now there’s another disease people need to consider: the West Nile virus.
The city’s health department has discovered mosquitoes in both the Bronx and Staten Island who have the virus, which could threaten older residents with weakened immune systems.
No human cases have been reported as of yet, and most who get infected have no symptoms at all.
Still, people going outside should wear insect repellent, and cover their arms and legs where possible, said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner.
“We also encourage everyone to remove any standing water that may harbor mosquitoes,” Barbot added, in a release, “or call 311 for standing water they cannot manage themselves.”
The city continue to spray for mosquitoes in an effort to kill larvae before they can bite.
West Nile was first detected in New York in 1999, with human cases ranging from three to 47 annually, officials said. Of them, 13 percent have died.
The virus can cause a serious and potentially fatal infection of the brain and spinal cord. Most common symptoms include headache, fever, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
Symptoms of a more severe illness include changes in mental status and muscle weakness, which could require hospitalization.
Health officials warn that anyone who shows symptoms of West Nile virus should see a doctor.