NEW YORK – New York will remain largely closed until at least June, but may begin easing restrictions next month if progress in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues, mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.
“We are clearly not ready yet,” de Blasio told reporters at a press briefing on Monday.
“Unless something miraculous happens, we are entering June,” he said. “June is the time when we will potentially be able to make real changes, if we can continue our progress. “
The virus killed 19,931 people in the city and the number of confirmed cases stands at 178,766, according to city data.
The school has already been canceled for the rest of the school year and public events have been suspended until the end of June. Under a state order – which could start slackening at the end of this week for less affected northern regions of the state – rallies of any size are prohibited, non-core businesses are closed, and people have to stay six feet apart.
In the latest data, the number of newly hospitalized patients for Covid-19 has dropped to 55, and the number of people in intensive care units in public hospitals has decreased slightly.
“We will always follow the data. It was pretty good and pretty consistent. This is not quite what we need, “said de Blasio. “We have to guard against a boomerang, and anytime if the data has started to change, then it delays the time when you can do any kind of loosening of restrictions.” “
Officials are also observing with growing concern that the children are being diagnosed with an inflammatory syndrome that appears to be linked to Covid-19, which has made 38 children sick in the city so far. Most of the children are between 5 and 9 years old, officials said on Monday. The disease, which challenges previous beliefs that children were little exposed to the virus, could affect plans to reopen schools in September, said de Blasio.
“We take it very seriously. We are watching it very carefully, and everything we do about schools will be led by health and safety first, “said de Blasio. “From that moment on, we think we can reopen the schools safely and well in September. But we have to watch this syndrome very closely. “
As pressure on hospitals eases, the city plans to send masks, gloves and medical personnel to 1,000 local clinics in areas hard hit by the pandemic, de Blasio said on Monday.
The city will send 120,000 surgical masks and 115,000 pairs of gloves per week to 1,000 medical offices, some of which closed in the middle of the pandemic due to a lack of personnel and protective equipment.
Hundreds of doctors and nurses from the city’s medical reserve corps will be deployed to clinics in 26 neighborhoods in the five boroughs. This is part of an effort to tackle racial disparities in the spread of the virus, which has killed blacks and Latin New Yorkers about twice as much as white people.
“They are the place where people turn for health care that have no other options,” said de Blasio.
The city also plans to use local clinics as part of its efforts to speed up testing and reconnect people with Covid-19, but details of the arrangement were not provided immediately.
Meanwhile, another side parking lot, suspended since mid-March, will be reinstated for a week starting next Monday to allow for major street cleaning, announced de Blasio.
After that, he will be suspended for at least two more weeks.
“We are seeing a number of areas in the city where garbage is starting to accumulate, and we are concerned,” said de Blasio.