There may be light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. That was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s message on Friday after he announced the city is shifting to a new set of markers to measure daily progress amid the ongoing health crisis.
“What is clear is we, for the first time, I've seen these indicators stay consistently low,” de Blasio told reporters from City Hall during his daily briefing. “And so it's time to talk about the indicators differently as we prepare for phase one.”
As outlined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, phase one will allow construction, curbside retail, in-store pick-up or drop-off, manufacturing and wholesale trade.
De Blasio said he thinks the city will meet the requirements for a partial reopening next month.
To track progress, the city will now look to meet three specific thresholds. If the trends hold for 10 to 14 days, the likelihood of softening restrictions and restarting certain parts of the economy becomes more likely.
The new set of data will look at hospitalizations, ICU patients and the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19.
Specifically, the city is aiming to keep the number of daily hospitalizations for people suspected of having COVID-19 at less than 200. The number of people in ICU should be at less than 375, and the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus must stay less than 15 percent.
As of Friday, there seemed to be some progress.
“This is all about everything you've been doing and about keeping up this progress. But I want people to see the fruits of your labors. You've gotten us this far. Now, let's keep going,” de Blasio said.
It could all be welcome news for quarantine-exhausted New Yorkers. With Memorial Day weekend ahead, there was a ray of hope that the beaches might open for part of the summer season. But for now, New Yorkers must stay out of the water.
“You can walk, you can sit down, you can bring a chair, you can bring a blanket, but you have to follow the same concepts – socially distance from people who are not a part of your own household,” de Blasio said. “We're not going to allow swimming. There will not be lifeguards.”
Socially distanced lifeguard training, however, is underway at different locations around the city, so they can be prepared if swimming is allowed at some point this summer.