50 percent of all New York City residents will likely contract the new coronavirus, the city said Wednesday.


Underlining the contagiousness of the virus, city officials confirmed their projection that a majority of New Yorkers will eventually contract COVID-19 as the pandemic runs it course.

“By the time September rolls around, likely 50 percent” will have contracted it, said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “But it could also be much higher.”

The comments at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily press briefing Wednesday evening followed Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday saying about 40 to 80 percent of the state’s overall population would become infected. That amounts to 7.8 million to 15.6 million people in New York state.

It’s unclear if New York will ever get the full count, however — the city has tried to priortize testing for more serious cases, advising that people who have symptoms consistent with the coronavirus should not call their doctor or go to the emergency room for three to four days. De Blasio said if someone’s condition worsens, then they should call their doctor. This appears to be a move to reduce the number of people flooding into hospitals as the numbers of cases rise exponentially.

As a result, however, many New Yorkers may never be tested for COVID-19.


Meanwhile, the mayor announced that basketball hoops will be removed at 80 locations around the city where New Yorkers have failed to heed warnings about maintaining social distance and avoiding contact sports.

Players at those courts repeatedly ignored warnings from police and Parks Department staff, he said.

“There will not be any basketball games because there will not be any basketball hoops,” de Blasio said. Another 1,600 courts across the city will remain open.


Separately, the mayor blasted the $2 trillion Senate stimulus plan for shortchanging New York City, which will receive only $1.3 billion, according to state officials. De Blasio directed his ire at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

“It should have been one of the easiest no-brainers in the world for the U.S. Senate to include real money for New York City and New York state in this stimulus,” he said. “And yet it didn’t happen. And we know why: because Mitch McConnell wouldn’t let it happen.”

“They gave us less than 1 percent of the money that they were giving out to cities and states. And we have a third of the cases in the nation. That is just immoral.”

De Blasio said he would appeal directly to President Donald Trump to intervene and boost aid to New York City. At the same time, he took a swipe at Trump’s recent pronouncements that the country could return to normalcy within a few weeks.

“The notion that everything might be fine by Easter — I don’t know where on earth that idea comes from,” he said.

Other items from the press briefing:

The city is expanding free education and child care to the children of grocery store and pharmacy workers, as well as essential employees of the city’s ferry system, the Department of Environmental Protection and its Department of Probation. Those children will be eligible to attend one of the city’s Regional Enrichment Centers beginning Friday.

200 inmates at city jails will have been released as of Wednesday night because of vulnerability to coronavirus complications, with more to follow on Thursday, the mayor said.

The locations of ten streets that will close to traffic — two in each borough — will be announced Wednesday evening, with the closures to begin on Friday.

De Blasio said he will begin a delivering a daily message at 9 a.m., to be broadcast on social media. He will begin with a prepared statement, then answer questions submitted by New Yorkers using the hashtag #askmymayor.



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