NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio prepared New Yorkers on Monday for what he says will be a “challenging week” in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
During his daily media briefing, de Blasio said it’s time for residents to get used to living in a way that is “absolutely unprecedented in our lives.”
“I think it’s safe to say as we woke up this morning, this Monday looked very different, unlike any Monday that we’ve ever experienced,” de Blasio said.
“Suffice it to say, we now, all of us, fully understand what we are up against. We are taking every conceivable action as a city, working with the state government and now increasingly working with the federal government to address this crisis, to try in every way we can to slow the growth of this disease, to help everyone in need, and to get to the day when this is part of our history, not part of the reality we are living,” the mayor added.
The city said the number of positive cases was at 13,119 as of Monday at 6 p.m., including 125 deaths.
The breakdown by borough:
- 3,848 in Queens
- 3,742 in Brooklyn
- 2,646 in Manhattan
- 1,999 in the Bronx
- 877 on Staten Island
There are at least 2,213 people hospitalized. Of those individuals, at least 525 are in the ICU, officials said.
“Sixty percent of cases in the state, 35% of cases in the entire country are in this city,” de Blasio said. “We are the epicenter of this crisis. No one wants that distinction, not a single one of us, but it is true that we are the epicenter of this crisis, and that’s why we so desperately need help, particularly from our federal government to get through it.”
The mayor once again stressed the importance of staying at home as much as possible and, if you do have to go out, to be vigilant about social distancing.
“Look, what we all have to do is help each other. But we in government, particularly, have to help you to understand this new reality, help you navigate it, and support you through it,” de Blasio said.
As the city works around the clock to increase the number of Intensive Care Unit beds, de Blasio took a tour of Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island earlier Monday. He said Coler will be able to handle 100 new beds this week and 240 next week.
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He also spoke glowingly about all the cooperation in getting a new field hospital at the Javits Center.
“This was something absolutely crucial. We’ve been pushing for the federal government to bring in everything they have, every form of support, and everyone knows the great work of the Army Corps of Engineers. This will mean 1,000 new beds. It will be extraordinarily helpful,” de Blasio said.
The mayor also discussed the city’s dire need of medical supplies. He said he spoke at length with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday night, stressing the day-to-day reality of what health care workers face.
As a result of those discussions, de Blasio said 400 ventilators from the federal stockpile are on their way to New York City.
“Our need for ventilators is in the thousands, but we’re going to fight every day to stay ahead of this curve. We’re going to literally be in a race against time, so even 400 ventilators is a huge step forward to help us get through this week and into next,” de Blasio said, adding he’s “very grateful” for the federal government’s assistance.
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De Blasio said going forward he will be working with Trump trade czar Peter Navarro on the supplies need, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on the military’s role.
“It is my hope that that military role will continue to expand in the days ahead,” de Blasio said, referring to needs all over the country.
The mayor said the city has been amassing supplies and is getting them out to public and private hospitals, including 200,000 N95 masks, 2 million surgical masks, and 70,000 face shields. He said additional help is coming from the feds and state in the form of 430,000 surgical masks, 170,000 N95 masks, 175,000 pairs of gloves, 98,000 face shields, and 72,000 surgical gowns.
De Blasio also thanked private companies such as ASO Corp. of Florida for sending 600,000 vinyl gloves, American Express for 36,000 N95 masks, Merc for 500,000 surgical masks, and a handful of local companies that continue to produce tens of thousands of face shields.
For everyone, Monday was the first day of the state’s “stay at home” order, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
Classes resumed for New York City public school students Monday, entirely online. The Bonne family in Queens logged on early this morning.
“We know as educators this is going to take time. It’s not something all parents will be able to navigate immediately. Reach out to the teachers. That’s important,” said first grade teacher Evelyn Nunez of PS 84 in Brooklyn. She’s helping her students and parents navigate the journey.
“It was very emotional. Seeing the kids in our chat this morning. Seeing them saying ‘I want to go back. I want to go back to the classroom,’ and I’m saying ‘I hear you. I want to go back too,'” Nunez said.
On Monday, de Blasio said schools will likely stay closed for the rest of the academic year.
The first full day of the “stay at home” order is forcing many more families to hunker down, with the city now discouraging people from congregating in large numbers at area parks.
Advocates are calling on the mayor and governor to do more to ensure the homeless population is not forgotten.
Everybody is hurting, making personal sacrifices for the common good, hoping together we can slow the spread of the virus, as the race is on to save lives.