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NYC Bill de Blasio still believes Half of New York to be infected by COVID-19 unless proven otherwise

NYC Bill de Blasio Still Believes Half of New York to be Infected “Unless Proven Otherwise”

Today, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio would be asked if he still believed in his prediction that half of all New Yorkers would be infected by the COVID-19 virus. A question we ourselves have wondered about as well. He and Dr. Oxiris Barbo (head of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene) would give a answers. The question comes at a time of decreasing averages of local confirmed infections, hospitalizations and related deaths.

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability. City Hall. Thursday, April 23, 2020. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

I once wrote about the notion of Six Degrees of Separation and its application to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic as it pertains to New York. In that article, I’d made reference to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s conversation with George Stephanopoulos on March 27. Mr. Stephanopoulos is a journalist and anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. He would at that time, first state his prediction about how many would ultimately be infected.

I’ll first borrow from the Mayor’s conversation with Mr. Stephanopoulos:

Stephanopoulos: Give us a bit more sense – you say this going to go into May here in New York. The number of increased hospitalizations, about 3,000 yesterday, that was 4,000 the day before. Are we seeing – we know it’s still going up, but are we seeing any kind of flattening at all?

Mayor: George, there’s some – you know, some days we see numbers that make us a little helpful, but I don’t want to give people a false hope and then, you know, they get hit with a ton of bricks and it turns out is not real. The overall projection, we believe over half the people in this city will ultimately be infected. Now again –

Stephanopoulos: Over half?

Mayor: Over half. Thank God, for 80 percent, that will be very little impact, in truth. For about 80 percent, we see this consistently, it’s like having, you know, a cold or flu type dynamic and you get through it in seven to 10 days. And a lot of those people get right back to work – our first responders, our health care workers. But for 20 percent of the people infected, it’s going to be tough. And for some of them, of course it’s going to be fatal. So, when you look at these overall numbers, we’ve got to be honest about it grows before it comes – you know, before it comes down, we’re going to go through a really sharp growth period.

Today’s Question asked the Mayor about the latest models and whether he felt if his prediction had changed. The Mayor in effect said that due to the unknowns of the future it’s safer to stick to that prediction until it can be proven otherwise.

Mayor: “…I turned to the health folks and I am sure they have strong views on this matter, but I think they’ll also be the first to tell you we are still dealing with the great unknown in the absence of testing. We don’t even a hundred percent know, you know, when the first cases emerged in this city because we didn’t have testing in February. We know it was February, but we don’t know when; we don’t know how many people got it back then that went entirely unnoted. So, I think it is right to assume – this is the way I’d say it as a layman – first of all, we’re in the thick of it, right? We’re not in this perfect linear descent yet. So we don’t know when we get to get out of this widespread transmission phase. Second, unless we are very careful and we have some good luck and some blessings thrown-in, we have to be wary of a resurgence. And then, you know, we still don’t understand the seasonal reality. Does this come through in a sort of very clean seasonal pattern? Does it re-emerge later in the year?  We’re certainly concerned about next year already and being very, very mindful that it will still be a part of our lives until there’s a vaccine. So, I think the big answer is we don’t know for sure, but I would say the assumption that still more than half of New Yorkers could get this is a safe place to hold because we can’t tell you the opposite. We can’t confirm to you it’s going to be less at this point. That’s my layman’s assumption based on the conversations we’ve had, but now we have a fabulous panel of four doctors. Let’s see what you guys want to add to that.”

Dr. Oxiris Barbot would then add:

“So, Mr. Mayor, what I would add to what you correctly laid out is that currently we are at over 138,000 people who have had confirmed positive tests. But that, really, I think is the tip of the iceberg for a number of different reasons. Primarily because, you know, New Yorkers have been heeding to our advice that if they have mild symptoms at this point in time – when you’ve got community-wide transmission – having a test result isn’t going to change what we’re going to tell you to do in terms of staying home and you know, monitoring your symptoms for whether or not you get better or worse over the course of three to four days. And that we want to reserve testing for those individuals who are really sick enough to be in the hospital. So with that being said, you know, it wouldn’t surprise me if at this point in time we have probably close to a million New Yorkers who have been exposed to COVID-19. And so again, we’re, we’re tracking the number of positive test results as a way in which we can then better guide the healthcare delivery system interventions, the way in which we can help emphasize New York to New Yorkers, the importance of life saving measures, like staying at home. But you know, I don’t think any of us have any misconceptions of how widespread this virus is and how ultimately it will affect the vast or large numbers of New Yorkers overall.”

New York City’s latest numbers as per the NYC Department of Health today at 1:30 pm are as follow:

Cases:   141,754

Estimated Hospitalized: 36,723

Confirmed deaths: 10,290

Probable deaths: 5,121

Confirmed deaths: People who had a positive COVID-19 laboratory test.

Probable deaths: People who did not have a positive COVID-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent.

This morning, New York State Governor Cuomo would detail some revealing findings from testing done in New York. Statistics indicating the possible percentiles of those found to have antibodies as opposed to deaths and such. A related article will be coming shortly.

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