Dear Governor Cuomo,
I am writing to urge you to restore $1 million in funding from last year's state budget for research, education and prevention initiatives to combat Lyme and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) in New York State. I was alarmed to learn that no funding was allocated in the SFY 2019-20 budget for this purpose.
New York is at the epicenter of this public health crisis. In 2017, approximately 9,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported from every corner of the state and, because the disease is so difficult to diagnose, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that the actual number of cases could be up to 10 times greater.
The lack of adequate resources to tackle TBDs is already affecting New Yorkers in serious ways. Ticks and TBDs are hurting New York's thriving tourism and agricultural industries, which support the livelihoods of thousands of residents. In addition, far too many families affected by TBDs are struggling to pay medical bills, hold down a job and keep their children in school.
Lyme disease is a public health emergency that requires a concerted state effort to expand our research, prevention and treatment efforts. It's time to step up and take action. New York must be a leading advocate for the thousands of patients suffering from these debilitating diseases. I urge you to restore $1 million in funding to fight Lyme and tick-borne diseases and to protect New Yorkers from this ever-growing crisis.
Member of Assembly, District 106
Cc: Speaker Carl E. Heastie, NYS Assembly
Cc: Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYS Senate
Cc: Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Health
Cc: Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair, NYS Senate Committee on Health