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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is holding a press conference Monday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 158,258 people in New York City, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said last week that nearly 1 million residents probably have been exposed to the coronavirus, well above the number of confirmed cases.
“That really I think is the tip of iceberg for a number of different reasons,” Dr. Oxiris Barbot said at a news briefing. “New Yorkers have been heeding our advice that if they have mild symptoms, at this point in time, when you’ve got community-wide transmission, having a test result isn’t going to change what we’re going to tell you to do.”
New York City is still struggling to ramp up its Covid-19 testing capacity. The mayor stated earlier last week that the city will begin to manufacture its own test kits at the beginning of May. De Blasio added that officials cannot ease social distancing guidelines before the city is able to run hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests every day.
“To get to low-level transmission and to hold onto it, you need a huge amount of testing. Not just tens of thousands of tests per day but as many as hundreds of thousands tests per day for a city of 8.6 million people,” de Blasio said.
The New York City mayor also emphasized that lifting restrictions without enough testing and tracing infrastructure could lead to a “backfire,” in which the virus resurges and spreads across the city again.
The deadly pandemic has infected more than 965,900 people in the U.S. and killed at least 54,877. Globally, there have been more than 2.99 million cases of Covid-19 and at least 207,270 deaths.