NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio said Saturday that New York City has 9,654 positive coronavirus cases and that that the death toll has risen to 63 as he excoriated the federal government for an alleged slow response to the coronavirus crisis in the city.
“I can’t be blunt enough. If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise,” de Blasio told NBC's “Meet The Press.”
De Blasio said that New York City currently represents a third of the coronavirus cases in the United States, and that the city needs the nation’s armed forces to fully mobilize to provide assistance and supplies on a vast scale.
"We are now, in New York City, the epicenter of this crisis in the United States of America."
The top infectious disease expert in the U.S. promised New York City and the other hardest-hit places that critical supplies will not run out.
The medical supplies are about to start pouring in and will be “clearly directed to those hot spots that need it most,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CBS' “Face The Nation.”
But Fauci and other emergency officials did not give hard figures on the number of masks or anything else on their way. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged federal officials to step in quickly as hard-hit states outbid each other for ever scarcer supplies, sometimes doubling or tripling prices.
After Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized large gatherings of New Yorkers on the city, De Blasio said he was “fully aligned” with Cuomo and reminded New Yorkers that they need to observe social distancing rules.
De Blasio says the city may consider opening up streets to pedestrians, as Cuomo had advised, but that they want to make sure the NYPD can patrol any of those areas to enforce social distancing.
De Blasio also reminded New Yorkers that while they can leave home to get some exercise or groceries, to do so quickly, get what they need, and get back indoors. He said that team sports in parks, gatherings and similar events will be happening “for weeks, probably for months.”
He said that the primary responsibility for social distancing falls on New Yorkers themselves, and that even using things like the city’s playgrounds requires New Yorkers to act responsibly and observe social distancing.
De Blasio said that the city’s playgrounds will remain open but that the city was not capable of cleaning and sanitizing them.
Meanwhile, De Blasio said that the city’s bike repair shops have been deemed “essential” and will remain open.
He also said that while the city’s blood supply is currently sufficient, giving blood is essential and that New Yorkers are needed to step up. If you are ready and willing to donate blood, call 800-933-2566 or go to www.nybc.org
Finally, De Blasio said 23 inmates were being released from the New York City jail system due to coronavirus concerns. Another 200 were being reviewed for release.
Worldwide, more than 316,000 people have been infected and nearly 13,600 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. About 150 countries now have confirmed cases, and deaths have been reported in more than 30 American states.
With the Associated Press.