New York City will soon get another desperately needed influx of ventilators for coronavirus patients, with the federal government delivering 4,000 to New York state in the next 48 hours — half of them earmarked for the city — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at his daily briefing Tuesday afternoon.
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Still, it’s only the beginning of the city’s need, which the mayor has estimated at 15,000.
“If a doctor cannot get a ventilator to that patient literally the minute they need it, if too many minutes pass, that patient will suffocate. That patient will die a horrible death,” he said. “And they'll be gone forever.”
De Blasio also rebuffed President Donald Trump’s remarks at a Fox News town hall earlier Tuesday that restrictions on businesses and movement could be lifted in matter of two or three weeks. “The notion that we could be ‘back to normal’ in the month of April is absolutely inconceivable at this point,” he said.
Citywide, as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, there were 15,597 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 192 deaths.
The borough-by-borough breakdown, with some fluctuation in the numbers:
- Queens: 4,667 confirmed cases
- Brooklyn: 4,407
- Manhattan: 3,013
- The Bronx: 2,505
- Staten Island: 999
Tuesday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported 25,665 confirmed coronavirus cases in New York state. That number was reported before the city’s total increased to 15,597.
A week ago, New York City's confirmed case total was 923. A week before that: 36.
The numbers of cases are expected to only increase exponentially over the coming weeks and months as more tests are conducted.
The city said at least 2,850 people were hospitalized as of 6 p.m. Tuesday — at least 660 of whom were in the ICU.
Other topics covered at the briefing:
300 inmates will be immediately released from city jails, part of an ongoing effort to identify inmates who are especially vulnerable to coronavirus complications, the mayor said. Many other high-risk inmates can be released only at the direction of the state or district attorneys.
Playgrounds could be shut down for the foreseeable future if the city does not see sufficient social distancing compliance, de Blasio warned, adding that a decision will be made Saturday.
Women in labor can be joined by their partners at city hospitals as long as they wear surgical masks and do not show symptoms. On Monday, NewYork-Presbyterian, a private hospital network, announced it was barring partners of women giving birth.
The city will begin closing some streets to traffic in order to allow pedestrians to maintain greater distance and to allow space for exercise. Two streets per borough will be pedestrianized on a pilot basis, with the goal to implement the change by Thursday, the mayor said.
De Blasio praised renowned playwright Terrence McNally, who died Tuesday from coronavirus complications. De Blasio had a personal connection with McNally: his husband, Tom Kirdahy, was a college roommate of de Blasio, who officiated at City Hall in 2015 when the two men renewed their vows.
Alternate-side parking rules will be suspended another week, through next Tuesday, March 30.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday was one of the safest days on record, with fewer crimes recorded than any other date in city history apart from heavy blizzards. But while overall crime has trended down sharply, the city still saw an increase in robberies last week.
211 members of the NYPD have tested positive for COVID-19, with 2,700 to 2,800 members currently out sick, Shea said.
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