Half of New Yorkers likely to get coronavirus, de Blasio says

Bill de Blasio. | Getty Images

New Yorkers should expect half of the city’s population to contract coronavirus by the end of the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.

The mayor made the grim forecast when the number of New Yorkers who died from the disease rose to 199 on Wednesday morning and confirmed cases in the city rose to 17,856. These numbers far underestimate the true extent of the spread, officials said, since people who are not sick enough to be hospitalized can largely not be tested.


“It’s a fair bet to say that half of all New Yorkers, and perhaps more than half, will get the disease,” de Blasio told reporters. “And this is worrying for all of us, deeply worrying, but we have to start with the truth.”

If half of the city were infected, 4.2 million people would become infected with the virus.

This could happen until September when officials predict the outbreak will subside. “It could also be much higher,” said City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot.

Eighty percent of those infected are expected to have relatively mild cases, while approximately 20 percent are likely to be hospitalized.

The city is adding new morgues in tents and trailers to keep the bodies close to their capacity as existing morgues. A large tent and refrigerated truck were set up near the Bellevue Hospital on Manhattan’s East Side.

“I know that the morgues are obviously pushing a really strong emotional button. We are all human. It’s very disturbing to see and makes it very immediate, very visceral, ”said de Blasio. “It will be very, very painful.”

The majority of those infected so far – 56 percent according to Ministry of Health data – are younger than 50 years.

But more than 75 percent of hospital patients and all but five deceased are over 45 years old.

The number of infections has continued to grow despite the nationwide closure of non-essential companies and the ban on meetings.

Lawyer Jumaane Williams called for a “total closure” that would prohibit New Yorkers from leaving their immediate neighborhood, except for essential work, the closure of parks, and the closure of construction. He said the city should also consider assigning people specific times when they can leave the house to get groceries.

“We need a mandatory ban, and we needed it yesterday,” he said in an online press conference.

De Blasio said he was not considering closing parks, but could close playgrounds on Saturday if families don’t follow the rules to stay a meter away from other people. The city also removes 80 basketball hoops from courts where illegal games have continued.

As he grappled with addressing the epicenter of the crisis in the U.S., the mayor crushed a massive federal stimulus law because he offered little direct help to New York City, and repeated Governor Andrew Cuomo’s criticism earlier in the day.

The city government is said to receive only about $ 1.3 billion from the $ 150 billion offered to states and communities.

“It should have been one of the simplest no-brainers in the world for the US Senate to include real money for New York City and the State of New York in this stimulus package, and it didn’t,” he said, accusing the majority leader Mitch McConnell for the omission.

He said he plans to call President Donald Trump directly to ask for more.

“Everyone in the country knows that New York City is the epicenter of this crisis,” said de Blasio. “We are currently a third of the cases in the country. Somebody down there in Washington. «

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