The Big Apple is making “extraordinary” progress in the battle against the coronavirus but still not enough to reopen the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday, as he announced a new test and tracing system.
Hizzoner said there was a significant decline in the number of virus-infected patients in the city’s ICUs since the daily peak last month at nearly 900 people.
On Wednesday, 568 people were in ICUs with the contagion, according to the most recent city stats, which have a two-day lag. One fewer person was in intensive care on Tuesday, but the trend is still promising, according to the mayor.
“That number is really a crucial number because it talks about the most extreme impact this disease has had,” de Blasio said. “The ones in the ICUs are facing the greatest threat. That number is going down. It means a lot more lives are being saved.”
The number of people admitted to the city’s hospitals was up from 79 to 102 between Tuesday and Wednesday, but those figures have seen a steep decline since the daily peak in late March of 850 admissions.
“Unfortunately, it’s another day where we see the big picture is unquestionably good but still day to day,” the mayor said. “Still overall, much lower numbers, [but] not yet what we need to take the next step towards loosening restrictions.”
The percentage of people tested citywide who are positive for COVID-19 dipped from 16 percent Tuesday to 14 percent Wednesday.
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” de Blasio said. “Anybody can look at this chart and say we’re obviously making progress. … That does not mean we’re all the way there, but it does mean broadly we’re seeing the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Hizzoner announced a new delegation tasked with testing New Yorkers for infection and tracing all cases and contacts.
By early June, 2,500 “public-health foot soldiers” will be involved in the corps, he said.
Nearly 7,000 applications have already been received and are being evaluated for hiring.
At the helm of the initiative will be Ted Long, the vice president of ambulatory care at NYC Health + Hospitals.
Health + Hospitals will be responsible for the program instead of the city’s Health Department, which traditionally has had the purview — a decision Hizzoner insists is because of the great work public hospitals have done during the crisis.
But the decision is set against the backdrop of disputes between de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot over how to handle the pandemic — claims that the mayor shot down but which the commissioner pointedly refused to deny.
The city’s maximum daily capacity for coronavirus testing has hovered around 14,000 — but de Blasio said he hopes 20,000 tests can be conducted each day by May 25, and then 50,000 tests per day within the next few months.
At that rate, he said, 1 million tests will be conducted every 20 days.
“Now we’re starting to get into the kind of extraordinary levels we need,” the mayor said.
Source: Read Full Article