Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that people ‘need to be ready’ for New York staying in lockdown until the end of May as he gave the grave prediction that at least half of the city would become infected by coronavirus.
Speaking on Good Morning America as the US topped the world’s COVID-19 hotspots with 86,000 infections, de Blasio was asked if the city would stay shuttered ‘through May’.
He answered: ‘I think we need to be ready for that,’ then went on to slam President Trump’s Easter deadline to reopen the country as something that gave ‘false hope’ to the nation.
De Blasio also warned that ‘more than half’ of New York City – which has a population of 8.6million – would become infected with the virus at any one time.
His prediction came as research from the University of Washington School of Medicine suggested as many as 81,000 would be killed by the virus in the US and that the pandemic will not be over until June.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the city should be ‘ready’ to stay closed until the end of May
He said the majority, 80 percent, would suffer flu like symptoms but that some would die.
‘Here’s the reality in NYC, people we have to be real honest about where this is going.
‘Unfortunately we think it’s going to go through April and in to May. It’s just a blunt reality.
‘Over half of people in this city will ultimately be infected.
‘Thank god for 80 percent, that will be very little impact in truth – it’s like having cold or flu and you get through it in seven to 10 days.
‘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,’ he said.
In New York City, 177 deaths were recorded in just one day between Wednesday and Thursday
An abandoned 42nd street on Thursday as millions of New Yorkers stayed at home
There is now a makeshift morgue at Bellevue Hospital in anticipation of the many people who will die from the virus
STUDY SAYS PANDEMIC WILL LAST UNTIL JUNE
The coronavirus pandemic could kill more than 81,000 Americans over the next four months and may not subside until June, a new analysis suggests.
Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine predict that the number of US deaths could vary widely, ranging from as low as around 38,000 to as high as around 162,000.
The number of hospitalized patients is expected to peak nationally by the second week of April, though the peak may come later in some states.
Some people could continue to die of the virus as late as July, although deaths should be below epidemic levels of 10 per day by June at the latest, according to the analysis.
However, the team says that this is only if people follow local and federal guidelines and stay indoors.
For the analysis, the team analyzed data from the local and federal government, hospital and other sources.
Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said the variance in deaths is due in part to disparate rates of the spread of the virus in different regions.
For example, the virus had spread quite rapidly in New York City but has been slow in several Midwest and Mountain states.
The duration of the virus means there may be a need for social distancing measures for longer than initially expected, Dr Murray, who led the study said.
However, he added that the country may eventually be able relax restrictions if it can more effectively test and quarantine the sick.
The analysis also highlights the strain that will be placed on hospitals.
At the epidemic’s peak, sick patients could exceed the number of available hospital beds by 64,000 and could require the use of around 20,000 ventilators.
Ventilators are already running short in hard-hit places like New York City. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that New York State needs 30,000.
The virus is spreading more slowly in California, which could mean that peak cases there will come later in April and social distancing measures will need to be extended in the state for longer, Murray said.
Louisiana and Georgia are predicted to see high rates of contagion and could see a particularly high burden on their local healthcare systems, he added.
In New York City alone, 365 people have died and there are more than 23,000 cases.
De Blasio said the biggest challenge the city is facing is the lack of ventilators in the hospital system.
He has received 2,500 from the federal government but needs 15,000 to combat the onslaught of patients yet to come into hospitals.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already said that the state needs 30,000.
President Trump undermined that number on Thursday night and suggested he was exaggerating it.
De Blasio said the president was ‘not looking at the facts’.
‘We need help now. When the president says the state of New York doesn’t need 30,000 ventilators, he’s not looking at the facts.
‘A ventilator means someone lives or dies. If they get the ventilator in time they can come through but if they don’t, they’re not going to make it,’ he said.
Gov. Cuomo said on Thursday that NY needs 30,000 ventilators to stand a chance in fighting the virus. Trump suggested he was exaggerating
De Blasio said he was ‘grateful’ for the 2,500 he had received from the federal government, but that he needs more.
‘It has to keep coming. The president has to make that contract with a company that can make ventilators. Without a ventilator, doctors can’t save lives,’ he said.
He added that while there is enough equipment to keep hospitals supplied for the next week or two, he does not know if there are for beyond that.
De Blasio said healthcare workers were afraid and that they were right to be.
‘They’re going through hell. Look at what they are having to deal with,’ he said.
De Blasio also said that while there are days when he sees numbers that ‘make us a little hopeful’, he does not want to give people false hope.
‘This idea of Easter is a false hope it would be better if he was honest with people.
‘We have a really tough battle ahead,’ he said.
On Thursday, officials revealed that 177 people had died in the state of New York in just 24 hours.
It increased the death toll in the state to more than 400 and 365 in New York City alone.
Louisiana is now emerging as the possible next epicenter of the US outbreak after infections rose by 30 percent in 24 hours.