New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) speaks at a press conference about COVID-19.
Michael Brochstein | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
New York City has seen a slowing need for ventilators and a stabilized hospitalization rate for coronavirus cases — but the city should “double down” on efforts to suppress the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
De Blasio said there is a risk that coronavirus cases could begin to increase at a faster rate if residents do not adhere to social distancing and shelter-in-place policies.
And he warned at a press conference that COVID-19 infections are “going to reach a huge percentage of us.”
“Most likely over half and even more,” de Blasio said.
The mayor’s comments as New York City is on track according to statistical models to hit its peak of coronavirus cases this week.
New York City and surrounding counties in New York state have been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
But in pointing to the hospitalization rate data, and the related need for ventilators to treat infected patients, de Blasio on Wednesday said, “We’re now seeing some leveling off …. Something has started to move.”
However, he noted that the data the city has seen does not reveal when the outbreak is going to subside.
“We know we’re not out of the woods, it’s too early, it’s too preliminary.”
The mayor cautioned that city residents should not take the information as a sign that they can relax widespread suppression efforts.
Instead, he said, the data, “tells us we actually have to double down, stick to the strategies that are working.”
But de Blasio also lauded residents for taking mitigation efforts seriously, and helping slow the spread of the virus.
“When asked to make these massive changes, New Yorkers went ahead and did it,” the mayor said.
“What we’ve seen in these last few days is that social distancing, shelter-in-place, these are ideas that make a huge difference.”
He said the data seen in recent days “gives me hope, more hope than ever.”
But de Blasio warned that the experience in other areas of the world show the risk of relaxing mitigation efforts.
In those places, he noted, “This awful ferocious disease started to reassert itself,” he said.
This is breaking news. Check back for updates.