On July 11, New York City reported its first 24-hour period without a COVID-19 death since the pandemic began in March. Though it’s possible for the data to change as new deaths are confirmed retroactively, Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the milestone as proof of “how this city fights back and people do not ever give in.”
In a news conference on Monday, de Blasio told reporters, “It’s something that should make us hopeful, but it’s very hard to take a victory lap because we know we have so much more ahead. This disease is far from beaten.”
How New York City Went From COVID-19 Epicenter to Zero Deaths
According to data reported through July 18, New York City has suffered 18,771 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 4,617 probable coronavirus deaths. That’s in addition to the total of 217,895 cases of COVID-19 documented in the Big Apple.
But after four months of devastating losses and strict shutdown measures, New York City has rejoined the rest of New York state in reopening efforts designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and keep New Yorkers safe.
The NYC Health and Hospitals system contributed to NYC’s transformation by offering free COVID-19 tests to all residents, “whether or not they have symptoms or are at increased risk.” At the same time, Governor Andrew Cuomo instituted a carefully designed four-phase reopening process that normalized social distancing and essential health precautions.
Mayor de Blasio Encourages Additional Testing
In an effort to maintain his city’s coronavirus case and death reduction, Mayor de Blasio is urging the federal government to expand laboratory testing capacity. “The federal government has to step up now, because now it’s becoming a national crisis,” the mayor said. “We used to have almost no testing. Now we have more testing, but if you can’t get the results in real time, it doesn’t help you enough.”
De Blasio is paying especially close attention to New York City’s younger adults who may be tempted to ignore mask requirements and social distancing regulations.
“I understand for so many younger adults it has been a really difficult time — cooped up, disconnected, away from loved ones,” de Blasio said. “I understand that people are just yearning to break out of that, but — we’ve got to keep telling everyone, particularly our younger adults, how important it is to stick to what has worked: the social distancing, the face coverings, getting tested.”
The city is working hard to expand its outreach to young residents through social media influencers, mask giveaways, mobile testing vans, walk-up testing sites, and other techniques. De Blasio hopes these efforts will contribute to a steadily decreasing rate of positive coronavirus cases and, ultimately, COVID-19 deaths.