It is frightening that we are only now learning that Legionnaire’s Disease, which has killed at least a dozen people in the Bronx, was found in Queens months ago, at Flushing’s Bland Houses
But if what State Sen. Toby Stavisky said is true, and the outbreak was purposely kept quiet to prevent a panic, then it is even more frightening. With a potentially deadly outbreak happening right in the heart of Downtown Flushing, the city may have decided it wasn’t worth risking a panic to warn the community. That’s infuriating. We’re New Yorkers. We’re rational adults who weathered a terrorist attack and crippling natural disasters. Certainly we can handle the news of Legionnaire’s outbreak. Why does City Hall think so little of us?
The Flushing community had a right to know if they were at risk. While the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene asserts that it kept residents and regulars at the senior center in the Bland Houses informed, that is not enough. What about those who may have gone into the Bland Houses for one day to visit a friend or family member or take part in a senior center activity, were they warned?
What frustrates us even more is that the city, having known Legionnaire’s was in the Bronx, still kept information from the people of Queens, potentially endangering the lives of people in Flushing.
This discovery has certainly shaken our confidence in the city’s ability to be an effective, transparent government. City Hall must do better.