Tuesday, June 16, 2020

MAYOR DE BLASIO on COVID-19 and Where the City Stands Tuesday June 16, 2020

  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. We're at a moment in history in this city, in this nation, where change is not optional, change must come. My message today is, I don't think we, any one of us, have the option of assuming what can't happen. We have to make things happen, and that's what this city is capable of, that's what we have shown time and again. It is a moment that demands change. It is required of us. We have it within our grasp. Look, there's a lot of pain. There's a lot of anguish. There's a lot of fear. There's a lot of confusion. I understand that all those things may make people feel hopeless, but I've also seen all of those feelings, all of those challenges turn into action. I've seen it. I've seen it happen in our time in this city, and now it is happening again.

Yesterday, a very powerful announcement by the NYPD. Yesterday, an announcement that the decision to end the work of the plain clothes unit and change to a more modern community-based approach. We keep hearing voices of the community. We keep hearing voices from the young people who are our future, like those young people I've met in Southeast Queens on Saturday who understand their value, and they want the world around them to see their value too. They want to be respected. They want to be heard. Everyone needs safety. That is a foundation for all of us, but safety has to be done with the people of our neighborhoods. So, the decision, really crucial decision to disband that unit and move us forward. Deepening neighborhood policing, deepening the connection and the communication between our police and the people of our communities. That is a signature day for the city, that change can happen.

When I was in Southeast Queens, I heard those voices of young people. I saw the powerful work of the Crisis Management System. I saw what people were doing in the Cure Violence movement. Community people solving community problems, people stopping violence before it happened, uplifting young people, rather than denigrating them. I heard from young people how often they felt they were not seen by our society by our government, by our police. I tell you over and over again, I have seen the difference of neighborhood policing versus what we had before, which was aggressive and punitive and arrest oriented. I've seen the difference of not choosing to arrest. What it means that 180,000 fewer people were arrested in 2019 compared to 2013. I've seen the difference of ending broken policies like stop and frisk and engaging people instead in a real dialogue, I've seen what it means to decarcerate, to have now the lowest jail population since World War II in the city of New York. The lowest rates of incarceration of any big city in America. All of these things are example of real change that the people demanded and that was achieved. What we've seen just in the last week, the extraordinary actions by the State Legislature to end the 50-a law that withheld the kind of transparency we needed to give people trust in policing the actions. We have taken that commitment to shift funding, and we’re going to do that in the next two weeks in our budget, shifting funding from the NYPD to youth services, to social services, to the things that actually go at the root cause of so many of the problems. 

Change must come in everything we do, and today I announce another step forward. Another step for transparency. Another step that will help to build trust between the people and the NYPD. Another step toward a more accountable system. Look, we recognize the power of body worn cameras, but body worn cameras are only as powerful as the transparency that comes with them. After we retrained all our police officers early on in this administration, after we focused on neighborhood policing and de-escalation, we then focused on the power of transparency with body worn cameras. We've spread them out, 24,000 now in our police force. By far the biggest body worn camera initiative in the country, but it only works if people see accountability, see results from the presence of those cameras. We have to get to the day where people see the police officer there to protect them and have faith. The faith has to be mutual. That's a day when everyone in the society counts, and to do that, we need more transparency and more accountability.

So, today, we announced a new policy related to the disclosure of body worn camera footage. Previously disclosure had been solely at the discretion of the commissioner and for very narrow purposes, the new policy effective immediately, all video and audio footage of incidents must be released within 30 days. If they meet one of the three criteria I'll name now. When an officer discharges their firearm that hit someone or could hit someone. When an officer discharged the taser in a way that results in the death or of an individual or substantial bodily harm. And when an officer's use of force results in death or great bodily harm. In those cases, the obligation will be for the NYPD to release all pertinent video and audio footage within 30 days. And I want everyone to understand that this is a good thing for everyone involved. We hope to never have these kinds of incidents to have to release this footage on obviously, or very, very rarely in the case of when an officer needs to use their weapon. And gun discharges have gone down steadily. And that's important to recognize, even as there's anger and pain, that retraining and de-escalation a different approach to neighborhood policing has correlated with a great decrease in gun discharges and adversarial situations, and we want to see that constantly go down. But when one of these three criteria is met. It is crucial that the information comes out promptly and that people have faith it will come out, and will come out objectively. That creates trust. That creates accountability. That says to the many, many good officers that they know the whole truth will come out from what they saw from their literal perspective. And it says to any officer who doesn't yet fully understand their responsibilities, that they will be held accountable and there will be consequences. The footage will be made available online for the public. First will be shown to family members involved, but ultimately to the public as a whole. And when people see this kind of transparency, it will build trust, and it's one step it's another step. Yesterday, it was a step, today is another step, there is much more to come in the weeks ahead.

We are deep, deep in this battle, and I've said many times, my deep appreciation to all of you for what you've done to help move us forward and we continue to move forward. But the fact that we've come so far should never allow us to become complacent or to feel for a moment that can't be a resurgence because we know there can be, we have seen such troubling reality in other cities and States that somehow took their guard down or move too quickly, we have that very much in our mind. And so, we're going to stay focused, we're going to stay focused on social distancing on face coverings on all of the things that have worked. And we now have a whole new reality with our Test and Trace Corp – this is something we talked about back in April – we said it would be built in May and in June it has come alive and come alive on a huge, huge scale. In a moment you're going to hear from Dr. Ted Long and his team at Test and Trace are doing an amazing job building out this capacity rapidly in a way we've never seen before in this city's history. Testing has finally starting to reach the kind of numbers we want to see, not our perfect numbers, but a hell of a lot more than we had before. The City of New York alone is now sponsoring about 20,000 tests a day, when you add in all the other providers were over 30,000, we now can predict that we will be at 50,000 tests per day by early July and just a month. Way ahead of schedule, and that's such powerful news. 50,000 people per day will be tested by the beginning of July, that is a third of a million people a week. It's an extraordinary step forward. Our tracer core now tracking approximately 4,300 cases just in the last days that they've been up and running. In this summer, they will be building out to the potential to monitor a quarter million New Yorkers. That is the level we're going to reach, a quarter million people who will need help and support to help them through this disease, to keep all the rest of us safe as well.

Now, to remind everyone that anyone who needs a test or anyone who is symptomatic and needs help, or anyone who needs to get that opportunity to safely separate, whether it's hotel or staying at home with a lot of support, there's a number you can call if you need that help and support. And it's 844-4NYC, 844-4NYC. That number has received over a hundred thousand calls from New Yorkers, seeking health advice from a clinician, it's been a huge success. That's the number to call when you need to figure out what to do, if you've tested positive or you're symptomatic, and you want to make sure you don't spread the disease to your family or anyone else call that number and help will be available to you immediately.

So, with these new tools, I have confidence in our ability to keep fighting back this virus. We're all in it together to say the least, but we have now what we need to keep this fight going and here to tell you more of the details, the executive director of Test and Trace Corps, Dr. Ted Long.

Executive Director Dr. Ted Long, Test and Trace Corps: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, the mission of the Test and Trace Corp, is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus across New York City. Now, this starts with identifying cases or people newly diagnosed with coronavirus. We then ask them to identify contacts or people that cases may have exposed to the coronavirus since starting the Test and Trace corp. program on June 1st, just two weeks ago, we've identified more than 5,000 cases or people newly diagnosed with the coronavirus. Of those 15 percent, we had challenge, we didn't have a phone number for them. However, for everybody that we did have a phone number for all of those cases, we have now reached 94 percent of them of that 94 percent that we've reached more than 1,800 of these cases have shared with us contacts or people they may have exposed to the coronavirus. That's yielded us a list of more than 4,000 contacts across New York City. Now we had the same challenge with that list of 4,000 contacts where 36 percent of them, we didn't have a phone number for yet. However, for those that we did have a phone number for we've reached more than 80 percent of them. And of that more than 80 percent, there was a subset more than 300 people that when we were talking to them on the phone, they shared with us that they were actively symptomatic and likely contagious with the coronavirus. In that moment, we were able to get them to isolate or quarantine to keep their families and their neighbors safe, and we were able to get them all of the resources that they needed to get through this. To date, since the program went live on June 1st, as the mayor said, we've monitored more than 4,200 New Yorkers, that's 65 percent of all of our cases and contacts put together. Of that, 65 percent of our cases in contact, more than a thousand of them, when we were talking to them on the phone, told us they needed help. That help was in the form of food delivery, help with their medications. And for each of them, we've paired them up with a resource navigator and we've given them the help that they need to get their families and their neighbors through this. In addition to that, 40 New Yorkers have arrived at our hotels after telling us that they couldn't safely separate home and they needed even more help. And we with open arms have brought them to our hotels.

I'm going to say one more thing today, and this is very important. One of the key reasons why our program has been so successful so early on is that more than half of all of our tracers, all of our 3000 working tracers are people from our hardest hit communities across New York City, making this a local effort with New Yorkers in our communities, serving our communities. I'm pleased to announce today that we're awarding $4 million to community-based organizations to join us in the fight against the coronavirus and to drive this work forward together. Thank you.

Mayor: Thank you so much, Ted. And congratulations to you and your team, really extraordinary work. And everyone, this work has been done about two weeks, the last two weeks of getting this effort up and running on a vast scale, connecting with all those people, building out constantly, absolutely impressive work, and a lot more to come, as you heard. Let me talk about the daily indicator’s indicator, number one, daily numbers, admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 that threshold is 200 patients and today's report 52. Indicator number two daily number of people in health and hospitals, ICU threshold of 375, today's report 334 and indicator number three, number of people tested citywide or positive for COVID-19 threshold of 15 percent today, an excellent number – two percent. That is the kind of number of we are so proud of, cause that all indicates what you have done and what hard work every New Yorker has put themselves to, to get to this point. So again, congratulations, these are the kind of indicators we want to see more and more of as we get closer and closer to phase two, these are the kind of results that are going to get us there, and beyond

No comments:

Post a Comment