NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sits down to talk with Larry Mullins of 1010 WINS to talk about New York’s first Coronavirus case.
The following transcript comes courtesy of the Office of the Mayor of New York
Discussion NYC’s Mayor had with Larry Mullins of 1010 WINS News on Monday, March 2, 2020:
Larry Mullins: Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio are trying to reassure New Yorkers that there is no need for panic, though New York has recorded its first confirmed case of coronavirus. And the person who has it, who has tested positive is a 39-year-old Manhattan woman. Joining us now on the live line is Mayor de Blasio. Tell us more about this woman, Mayor.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Larry, she is a health care professional. She had been working in Iran and did everything exactly right when she went in to be tested, alerted the hospital in advance, she was treated in a careful manner, kept separated. And she is now – she’s in her 30s which suggests, from everything we know, that a healthy person in their 30s typically can come through this fine. So, she’s in isolation at home being monitored, only one person she came in prolonged contact with and that’s her husband who also is in isolation [inaudible]. We’re awaiting test results on him. We expect he will be positive as well.
But really important, Larry, for all your listeners to know, when this is handled the right way, which means people get care immediately, it’s very manageable in the vast, vast majority of cases and we know in this case since it was not exposure – it takes prolonged exposure. This is what we know so far on coronavirus, it’s not something you get from casual contact, it’s prolonged exposure with another person that has it. In her case, that only other person was the husband, so we think this is well contained. But the bottom line for all New Yorkers is, if you have symptoms, flu-like symptoms and you need health care, get to health care. If you’re not sure how to get it, call 3-1-1 because the real important thing here is no one should have those symptoms and ignore them. If you have them, let’s get you help. If you don’t know where to turn, call 3-1-1, we’ll make sure you get the help you need.
Mullins: Mayor, can you say where in the city this woman is?
Mayor: Again, Manhattan but we don’t need to go into a whole lot of detail because she is in isolation at home and being monitored.
Mullins: Now, isolation at home – she’s in an apartment and in an apartment building the ventilation system runs all through the building, but that’s not a concern?
Mayor: Again, Larry, I always want to be transparent. This is a disease no one – no one on Earth is saying we know everything about it but what we do see so far is for the vast, vast majority of people if they get it, it plays out in the same way a normal flu would, for example. The vast majority – 80 percent plus of people simply live with it, stay home, get rest, whatever it is, it resolves itself. It’s a very small number of cases that have proven to be more dangerous and almost always where there’s an underlying serious medical condition or some kind of vulnerability. So, we take it seriously but we don’t want to treat it as something it’s not. It takes prolonged contact. That’s what we’re seeing so far. You can’t get it through casual contact. So, the bottom line here is if people do the basics, you know, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze, use hand sanitizer, wash your hands regularly, I mean those are really valuable precautions in this environment. But here we are the biggest city in the world. This thing has been going on now for most of two months. This is our first case. I think that says something about the fact that it is not casual contact. It takes serious contact to be able to transmit that.
Mullins: And we have seen in other cities around the world where there have been outbreaks that they have taken measures like closing the Louvre in Paris now and La Scala in Milan are closed. Are you thinking about this, thinking ahead to that point?
Mayor: Larry, we’re looking at every contingency. In fact, I’m about to do an exercise at our Office of Emergency Management to start running through a variety of contingencies and scenarios with all of our City agencies present to prepare for the worst. But it’s also important to understand where there have been a lot of those closures, it all typically correlates to places that have already a very extensive number of cases, you know where the “community spread” is really advanced. We don’t have that here. We don’t want to have it here but we don’t see an indication of that yet. The goal here is – this is very individual right now that this could be, this ballgame could be won or lost right now based on how individual New Yorkers perform. And so what I’m saying to all New Yorkers is, we need everyone to take it seriously and not hesitate. If you have the symptoms, get to health care anyway. But especially if you think there’s any nexus to travel to one of the more deeply affected countries, whether you’ve travelled yourself or a loved one or friend that you’re in close contact with, get to health care immediately. That’s the central message. If people keep doing that we’re going to be able to stay ahead of this. So, we’re nowhere near the point of having to think about mass closures but we will be preparing for those scenarios right now.
I also want to tell you, Larry, we’ve got some good news just in the last hour, even since the Governor and I did the press conference. Previously we believed it would be Friday of this week that we would have our local testing up and running. We’ve now had a positive development on that front. That testing is ready to go immediately. The New York City Health Department testing will start later on today. So, that is an update even from just an hour ago. And that’s going to allow us to really in a matter of hours evaluate each case.
Mullins: Very good. Mayor de Blasio, thank you so much for being with us.
Mayor: Absolutely, Larry. Thank you.