During a news conference Thursday afternoon, Mayor de Blasio said there are 95 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in New York City. That’s 42 new since yesterday.
Twenty-two of those individuals are hospitalized, according to the mayor.
De Blasio went on to declare a state of emergency during the conference, giving him more executive powers in a crisis like this one.
The range of potential actions he could take are establishing a curfew, regulating vehicles and people entering certain parts of the city, closing down public transportation, rationing and restricting people from being on the street or public places.
It is important to note that none of these have been taken yet.
"It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” de Blasio said Thursday. “And I want to be clear about that. We will be at this for months and months. This is a battle, we are going into a long battle. It is the opposite of when you are told, ‘Don't worry it'll be over soon.’ This will not be over soon. This is going to be a long, long battle. It's going to be a tough battle. We are going to lose some of our fellow New Yorkers, that unfortunately is going to be inevitable."
Ten percent of the city workforce is going to start working from home, while the other 90 percent will be in staggered schedules, city officials say.
Blasio said the city will help those facing eviction. They can call 311 for help. He is also really worried about New Yorkers losing their livelihoods. That's why he doesn't think he should order a total and complete shutdown of the city.
"The vast majority of people who are afflicted, thank God, will survive and will fully recover, but it's going to be a long, painful episode,” de Blasio said. “The more the people are informed, the more they follow through on the guidance that we are trying to give them constantly, the more people support each other, the better off we will be."
The mayor did criticize the federal government for not allowing New York to do its own testing.
Testing for coronavirus is still scarce in the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's news conference on the coronavirus has been completed.
Here are some updates from the briefing room:
4:57 p.m., 3/12/20
- De Blasio said President Donald Trump's remarks Wednesday night "indicated that the president is finally taking the situation seriously."
"The steps he outlined showed much more connection to reality than a lot of what we heard previously," the mayor said.
However, he said the president was essentially silent on "the single-most important the federal government could take," which is to get immediate approval for expansion of automated testing.
"This is a tool that would be immensely helpful in addressing all the concern you're hearing from New Yorkers," de Blasio said. "So many people who want to get tested that we cannot prioritize right now, businesses that would like to test employees but can't right now because we have to focus on the folks who have the clearest symptoms and the folks who are in the greatest danger, and the folks who have a nexis to travel or an existing positive case. We want to do widescale testing. We cannot do it without the federal government coming in."
De Blasio says there has been talk of localities taking matters into their own hands. He says he believes that is what will happen if federal approval is not given.
"I think if the president of the United States and the FDA do not give us approval, I don't blame any locality, any company, anyone who just decides to do whatever kind of testing they can at this point, and we will work with all of them," he said.
4:43 p.m., 3/12/20
- The mayor says a special election for Queens borough president will continue as scheduled, as of this moment.
"It is a signature of a stable democracy that elections happen when scheduled, so we very much want that election to happen on time, so long as we believe it can happen effectively," de Blasio said.
The mayor did call on the candidates to alter their campaign strategies, including stopping door-to-door canvassing. He says the campaigns have other ways to get their messages out.
4:40 p.m., 3/12/20
- The city intends to authorize 10 percent of the city workforce to work from home. De Blasio says there is a significant number of employees who cannot telecommute, but he says 35,000 employees will be able to telecommute.
Of the remaining 90 percent of the workforce, 20 percent of that workforce - 70,000, will be put on staggered schedules.
The mayor called on city businesses to incorporate telecommuting and/or staggered schedules for employees.
4:37 p.m., 3/12/20
- The mayor said the city wants schools to remain open and intends for schools to remain open.
However, he added that non-essential or non-instructional activities that will be moved online or canceled, on a case-by-case basis. That includes PSAL (athletic) activities, assemblies, parent-teacher conferences, PTA meetings, and school plays and recitals.
The mayor says that this morning, there is a potential case of a student contracting the disease at a school. De Blasio stressed that a medical provider or testing agency has NOT confirmed the case. He says it is a self-reported case. Two schools in the same building - the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, and South Bronx Prep, both located in Mott Haven - were closed out of an abundance of caution for a full disinfection and cleanliess process. The mayor says as of this moment, no children in the school have pre-existing conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the disease.
4:28 p.m., 3/12/20
- De Blasio says the city is concerned about people's loss of livelihood, especially if businesses will be cutting back or shutting down in the coming days.
He says the city wants to help anyone who is facing eviction. They will get free legal help if it is a sheer legal matter - they can call 311. If someone is faced with eviction or unable to pay the rent, the Human Resources Administration in some cases will be able to provide some short-term support, More information is available at nyc.gov/accesshra.
The Department of Social Services is activating emergency food contracts to increase the amount of available food for people whose employment will be compromised and are running low on food for their families.
De Blasio stressed that federal action is important, because the federal government can provide a level of relief in a national crisis that state and local governments cannot.
"We need the federal government to move immediately with a huge stimulus program and a program of relief for working people," de Blasio said.
4:18 p.m., 3/12/20
- There are now 95 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in New York City, according to the mayor.
The mayor said as of noon, there were 25 cases in Manhattan, 24 in Brooklyn, 17 in Queens, 10 in the Bronx and five on Staten Island. That covers 85 of the 95 cases in the city.
Twenty-nine people are currently under mandatory quarantine. De Blasio added that the city is seeing its first case of a person who is coming out of mandatory quarantine.
4:10 p.m., 3/12/20
- Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a state of emergency in New York City.
He says he will work with the state to enforce the new rule that bans any gatherings of 500 or more people. He says he expects that to be in place for "a number of months."
3:25 p.m., 3/12/20
- Seats at the mayor's upcoming press conference are separated in such a way to reflect social distancing guidelines. Here's photo evidence from NY1 shooter Will Germain: