NYC should ‘start planning’ for the next phase in COVID-19 outbreak, mayor says

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Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on NYC's latest coronavirus response on April 9, 2020.

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NEW YORK — As New York City continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city’s measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease have been working.

Despite the number of cases continuing to rise, there are less hospitalizations in the state, according to officials.

NYC has seen an initial progress of the outbreak, crediting the positive change to social-distancing strategies. If practice social-distancing practices continue, the city can see rules loosening up by the end of May or June, de Blasio said Thursday morning.

“We need to earn our way out of this,” he said.

The mayor discussed the three phases of an epidemic, including widespread transmission, low-level transmission and no transmission. He noted how the city is still under the widespread transmission phase, but “it’s time to start planning for the next phase.”

In order to get to the next phase, de Blasio said the city needs to continue with social-distancing practices and the shelter-in-place order.

To get to the low-level transmission phase, officials said NYC would need to focus on a “comprehensive approach,” including having a greater testing capacity, isolating all cases, trace and quarantine all contacts and have a continued, but reduced social distancing order.

Beginning Monday, the city will also begin to publish daily metrics on the number of people hospitalized and the number of positive cases to allow individuals to monitor how NYC is doing with the number of cases.

Although the city may see a relaxation of social-distancing practices by the summer, de Blasio cautioned individuals “normalcy” won’t be immediate.

“We want to be very careful about letting the foot off the gas.”

There are currently over 80,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,260 deaths in New York City as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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