New York City officials warned the UN diplomatic community that everyone in the city should assume they’ve been in contact with the novel coronavirus and threats of proliferating cases are projected to last until the fall.
On Saturday New York City commissioner Penny Abeywardena in the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs and officials with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene held a briefing for foreign delegations in the city.
‘Everyone in New York should assume that they have been in contact with COVID 19,’ a read-out at the conference call said, according to Foreign Policy.
In the Saturday briefing medical officials stressed that the city is ‘in the mitigation phase of the outbreak’ and the virus could threaten the health of residents until as late as September.
On Saturday Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office held a briefing for foreign diplomats in NYC amid the coronavirus outbreak where health officials said: ‘Everyone in New York should assume that they have been in contact with COVID 19’
‘This means that all individuals should assume that they have had some contact with the virus and practice maximum-possible social distancing,’ health officials warned in the Saturday briefing. A couple pictured wearing protective masks on Fifth Avenue on Friday
‘This means that all individuals should assume that they have had some contact with the virus and practice maximum-possible social distancing; most cases will be mild and medical care should only be sought in urgent, worsening, or vulnerable cases.’
On Saturday the number of confirmed cases in New York state hit 613 with 269 cases reported in New York City.
The city saw two tragic deaths on Saturday – a 65-year-old man from Rockland County and an 82-year-old woman from Brooklyn.
In the Saturday briefing officials said the city is not offering special services to foreign diplomats exposed to the virus in New York.
Instead diplomats and dignitaries were given the same warnings to stay at home and practice social distancing.
‘There are no particular measures. If you’re sick, stay home – this is how we save New York,’ the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs said.
While diplomats said they welcomed the city’s honestly, some said the lack of measures was startling.
With no special procedures in place, delegations are responsible for disinfecting their own mission’s in the event of an outbreak because the city lacks supplies for them.
‘It’s your responsibility not to get infected, and your responsibility to stay home if you do. Your odds of not dying are rather great — if you get close “give us a call,”‘ one senior diplomat said on the New York’s standoff policy.
On Saturday New York City commissioner Penny Abeywardena in the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs and officials with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had a briefing for the UN diplomatic community. The outside view of United Nations Headquarters, which is closed to the public to do the outbreak, pictured in Manhattan above
When asked if the city will have widely available testing and if a list of testing centers would be made available to foreign missions the briefers said ‘No.’
‘You will be tested if a doctor advises; calling 311 can give access to a provider if a patient doesn’t have one. Testing should be reserved for the sickest (hospitalized) patients,’ briefers said.
Officials said the city is less focused on testing and is now honing on on minimizing exposure.
‘Testing is now less important — the danger of transmission is much higher as many people have now been exposed and the majority of people will only have mild symptom,’ they said.
The people most at risk of being hard hit by the killer coronavirus are the vulnerable including those over 70 years of age and individuals who are over the age of 50 with underlying health conditions.
In a startling move the briefers said that New York will not focus on contact tracing – the process of identifying people who may have come into contact with an infected person – a strategy encouraged by the World Health Organization to combat the spreading virus.
Bill de Blasio shared this notice warning the public to stay home sick and limit exposure to the virus
He shared this post mourning the passing of New York state’s first coronavirus death on Saturday after an 82-year-old woman passed away
‘Interviews with confirmed cases and contact tracing is not a good use of our resources when the virus is widespread. There will be little emphasis on tracing,’ briefers said at Saturday’s meeting.
Contact tracing is a strategy that has helped South Korea get their coronavirus outbreak under control.
The symptoms associated with the disease include fever, dry coughs, and difficulty breathing.
Health officials said that people infected with the coronavirus remain infectious for about 72 hours after their initial fever subsides – and they should remain in isolation for an additional seven days after those symptoms wane.
‘We are hopeful that exposure to COVID will make people immune, but too early to say definitely,’ the briefers added.
Now de Blasio’s office is scrambling to slow the fast-spreading crisis.
While he has resisted adamant calls for him to close down public schools, he announced his administration is moving forward with plans to ‘offer telecommuting or a staffer work schedule for about 100,000 city employees’.
On Friday President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency as the national toll case hit over 2,000.