Press Release

Nearly 30 of the Nation’s Largest Public Health Departments Launch Ad Campaign Urging People to Stay Home

April 2020


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2020               

Big Cities Health Coalition, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Santa Clara County Public Health Department partner to launch awareness-raising campaign in newspapers across the U.S. to help fight coronavirus

WASHINGTON, D.C., NEW YORK CITY, SANTA CLARA COUNTY – Today, the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, along with 27 other BCHC member health departments—the largest and most urban in the country, who have been hit earliest by the coronavirus pandemic—shared an open letter in newspapers across the country to urge residents to stay at home.

The letter, published in the Chicago Tribune, East Bay Times, El Diario, Houston Chronicle, Mercury News, New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times (publication date: April 6) and the Wall Street Journal, notes that the United States has not seen a public health threat like this in more than 100 years. It makes clear that the best course of action is a shared commitment to adhering to the preventative measures put forth by public health leaders—washing your hands, social distancing and most importantly: staying at home.

“We know it is hard,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City’s health commissioner, and co-author of the letter. “We know that connection to and within our communities are some of the best things about our day-to-day lives but for now staying physically apart is the absolute best thing we can do for our friends, our family and our neighbors. The difference this will make will save lives.”

“When we ask people to stay home, we don’t take it lightly,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer, public health director, and chair of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “We understand many people cannot work from home and are suffering from real impacts to their livelihood. Right now, we all need to reduce the number of people with whom each of us comes in contact. We each have a part in slowing the spread of this virus.”

The letter was signed by health officials from public health departments serving nearly 62 million residents.

“The signers of this letter represent decades of leadership and experience in the field of public health,” said Chrissie Juliano, executive director, Big Cities Health Coalition. “We at BCHC could not be more proud of the work they are doing to protect the health of their communities. Following the stay home directive is crucial. It keeps those that are well, well, keeps resources available for those that are sick and helps us to not overwhelm our health care system.”

CONTACT: Max Mays or 913-233-6830 


About the Big Cities Health Coalition

The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact nearly 62 million people, or one in five Americans. For more information, visit